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Saving Seed

| 10/13/2017 9:20:00 AM

 Country Moon


I have been working at putting the garden to bed for winter. Although this end of the season is sad, I remember all the bounty the garden gave us through the year. On top of that, I have found a way for it to give even more. This year, I will be saving my own seed for next year from the plants that produced so well this year.

Saving seed is fairly simple, if you follow a few guidelines. First of all, some plants lend themselves much better to this process than others. Tomatoes, peppers, beans and peas are good choices from which to save seed because they have flowers that are self-pollinating, which means that seeds from those plants require little to no special treatment before storage. On the other hand, plants like beets and carrots make it more difficult to save seed because they are biennial and need two growing seasons to set the seed.

Plants with separate male and female flowers, such as corn and vine crops, may cross-pollinate, which makes it hard to keep the seed strain pure. For example, if sweet corn and popcorn are planted too close they can pollinate each other, which means they will each pick up characteristics of the other. The sweet corn may not be sweet and the popcorn may not pop.

Vine crops such as cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, melons and gourds can all be cross-pollinated by insects. The quality of the current crop is not affected, but the seeds from these plants will produce vines that bear fruit unlike the parent plant. Often these second-year plants will produce fruit with little flavor, lessened disease resistance, and other inferior qualities.

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