The Basics of Seed Saving


| 3/14/2014 3:55:00 PM


Tags: Seed Saving, Seed, GMO, Open Pollinated, Hybrid, F1, Amy Hill,

Amy HillMy local public library is starting a seed library. In honor of its launch, I’ll be exploring the basics of seed starting and saving, learning about which plants are best for particular applications, and how to plan and prepare for a successful growing season.

Successful seed saving begins with choosing seeds that have the potential to be saved (not in the religious sense). Seeds of any plant – herb, vegetable, or flower – are either open-pollinated (OP) or hybrids. Only open-pollinated seeds can be saved successfully.

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What is an open-pollinated plant?

Open-pollinated plants are plants that are allowed to cross-pollinate by wind, insects, birds and other means, or they may self-pollinate. Over time and with careful selection, open-pollinated varieties can stabilize, meaning that the parents and offspring naturally share similar traits, closely resemble one another, and are easily distinguished from others in its species (e.g., one variety of tomato, like ‘Brandywine,’ is clearly distinguished from another, like ‘Cherokee Purple’ or ‘Green Zebra’).

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