Seed Saving Garden? Basics for the Beginner! Part 3

Why Use Isolation Techniques for Saving Seed?

  • Goal – produce true to type seeds
    • Prevent unwanted cross pollination by isolation
      • Seeds are collected from a number of plants of the same variety, protecting the variety’s genetic diversity (prevents the loss of a variety’s unique characteristics – i.e. form, color and taste)
      • Seeds collected from a number of plants of the same variety, is essential to the health and performance of the variety.
      • Seeds collected in your garden are unique to the changing conditions of your area.
      • These seeds are now a one of kind variety for your special use.
  • Isolation – the use of spatial distance or physical barriers to prevent pollination by wind, vibration, insects or mechanical means.
  • Isolation techniques:
    • Blossom bagging – netting material that is a physical barrier to insects that are drawn to the flowers of vegetables, herbs and flowers that you intend for seed saving.
      • Blossom bags are used around individual (okra) or clusters (tomatoes) of flowers.
      • Blossom bags (made of very fine screening) may be purchased through online horticultural supply distributors and high end garden centers.
      • Save okra seed
    • Caging – a physical barrier made of a frame and screen/row cover to prevent cross pollination of insect pollinated plants.
      • Self pollinated vegetables suitable for caging include eggplant, pepper and tomato.
      • Floating Row Cover material/very fine screening may be purchased online from horticultural suppliers or high end garden centers.
      •  seed saving cages 3wholeIsolation chamber
      • Bagging and caging are useful for those who have limited space and/or cannot meet distance requirements.
        • The netting or row cover material will prevent inadvertent cross pollination by wind or vibration.

Here are two excellent publications for more in-depth information regarding seed saving!

The Complete Guide      the-seed-garden

Please contact me for any question or observation you have regarding seed saving!

Papa

Advertisements

Seed Saving Garden? What’s That? Part 3

I met a man in the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed store who lost his personal family heirloom seed in a house fire. He was saddened he could not replace those beloved seeds. All the more reason to embrace the heirlooms we can grow and make them our own.

Growing, Harvesting, Saving Seed

Beans (green, dry/fresh shell out beans), cowpeas/southern peas and peas (garden, snow and sugar snap peas) are the simplest seeds to save!!

  • Beans: 10 – 20 feet between varieties is sufficient to prevent cross pollination (self-pollinating).

–10 plants are needed for sufficient seed quantities.

–Harvest when pods are dry.

–Seed are viable 3 – 4 years

beans-dry-bush-closeupDried beans on vineBeans pods2

  • Cowpeas: 10 – 20 feet between separation to prevent cross pollination (self-pollinating) .

–10 plants are needed for sufficient seed quantities.

–Harvest when pods are dry.

–Seed are viable 3 – 4 years.

Cowpeas1Cowpeascowpeas2

  • Peas: 10 – 20 feet between varieties is sufficient to prevent cross pollination (self-pollinating).

–10 plants are needed for sufficient seed quantities.

–Harvest when pods are dry.

–Seed are viable 3 – 4 years

Dried peas on vineDried peas1Dried peas

  • Remember, this is fun and practical! Any questions?

Papa

Seed Saving Garden? What’s That? Part 2

As heirloom vegetables, herbs and flowers are losing ground by an estimated 10,000 a year, seed saving has become a race for time and the home gardener has a place in this race.

This information was part of a presentation offered during the fall festival at Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

Pepper-Etiuda-PP192-web07-IMG_3150Purple Basil

Seed Saving for the Beginner

  • Self pollinating annuals

–It is wise to perpetuate only open pollinated, heirloom varieties.

  • Beans, lettuce and peas are easy for seed saving production.
  • Tomatoes – bagging tomato hand (truss) or meeting isolation distances between varieties.
  • Cucumber, okra and melons are insect pollinated. One variety allows for production of true to type seed.
  • Pumpkins and squash should be hand pollinated and kept in a bag or cage until fruit is set.
  • Do not take on biennials requiring vernalization.
  • Do not take on those varieties requiring large isolation distances.

Population Size

  • Seeds collected from a number of plants of the same variety, protects the variety’s genetic diversity.
  • Seeds collected from a number of plants of the same variety, is essential to the health and performance of the variety.
  • Seeds collected in your garden are unique to the changing conditions of you area.
  • These seeds are now a one of kind variety for your special use.

Isolation

  • Goal – produce true to type seeds

–Prevent unwanted cross pollination

  • Isolation techniques:

–Blossom bagging – successful fertilization evidenced by development of  fruit.

Save okra seedTomato seed saving

  • Caging – a physical barrier made of a frame and screen to prevent cross pollination of insect pollinated plants.

seed saving cages 2bf220def13c0a7dd7fe13d3e8f860078seed saving cages 3whole

Garden cages4

Bagging and caging are useful for those who have limited space. The netting or row covers will prevent inadvertent cross pollination by wind or vibration.  Plus, the caging method is a great way to contain pollinators (such as bumble bees and mason bees) to pollinate Cucurbit (cucumbers, melons, squash, watermelons) crops.

Please, I am looking forward to answering any of your questions!!

Papa

Seed Saving Garden? What’s That?

Have you considered saving seed from your garden? Saving seed was once an option. Not any more. It is absolutely essential!! With an uncertain economy and a shrinking heirloom seed pool, the time has come to start saving seed. Over 90% of our heirloom seed have been lost to apathy, lack of interest and the advent of hybrids.

I offered a presentation on  Planning a Seed Garden during the September Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Fall Festival. I will be sharing this information over the next few days.

seed saving cages 2bf220def13c0a7dd7fe13d3e8f860078Save okra seedGarden cages3

  • Determine your favorite open pollinated (true to type) vegetables, herbs and flowers.
  • Does your current garden have the space necessary for vegetable and seed saving production?

–Make a garden plan to fit the space available.

Start small, planting a familiar variety that you are comfortable growing.

–What seed crop or crops are worth the space?

  • Isolation requirement, pollination method and plant requirement must be considered.

Annual Crops

  • Will your seed saving choice have time to mature?

–Tomato, winter squash and grains are harvested at maturity.

–Eggplant, cucumber, snap peas and beans need additional time for seed          maturity.

–Leaf crops (Oriental greens, lettuce, spinach), stalk crops (celery, celtuce,      cardoon, Swiss Chard, asparagus, fennel) and root crops (potato, sweet potato)    need additional time for seed maturity.

Biennial Crops

  • Need cold for vernalization requirement.

–Vernalization is a period of chilling before flowering.

  • Winter chilling is critical for flower initiation.
  • Cabbage, carrots, beets, turnips, kale grow foliage the first year.

–Overwintering initiates flowering the following spring, producing seed.

Are there any questions? Please send them!

Papa