Sunday, January 11, 2009

From Seed to Seed

You may have noticed a couple of days ago a new banner appeared on my sidebar. Melinda of One Green Generation has offered up a new challenge this year - The Growing Challenge, From Seed to Seed. "Grow a new crop from seed this year, nurture it organically, and then successfully harvest enough seeds to grow next year." I had to get a clarification and found out that the crop didn't have to be new to me as long as I hadn't saved seed from it before. Also it was actually collecting seed. Letting a crop self sow doesn't count.

Last year I saved seeds from Cosmos, Pink Mallow, Parsely, Dill, and Tomatoes. This year I want to save more. I'd like to save seed from the two bean varieties I was given and the one zucchini, also, Neck Pumpkin, tomatillo, lettuce and bunching onions (if they survive the winter under their row cover). I'd like to save seed from the chili peppers too, but am worried about how they might cross. Though they are self pollinating plants, they can still easily cross pollinate.

A new challenge is always fun. This one will make me look at all my plants and contemplate if it is worth the effort of saving seed from them. Some won't be worth the extra space and time required, some will. I do have 47 open pollinated varieties that I'm growing from seed this year and only 10 hybrids, so I have a lot of possibilites.


  1. Some times I think of what life would be like if I could not order seed from a catalog or pick up veggies from the store. Pretty difficult I bet.

    This challenge would be great to teach no-gardeners what it takes to grow food.

  2. I've never saved seed before, but will try to do it myself this year. It will be difficult to keep them from cross pollinating in my garden, I bet...


  3. You look like you are totally set up for propagating seeds this year...I am so jealous.

    Great work. I look forward to seeing your results.

  4. Dan: That is a scary thought. I would have to learn to save all my seed really quickly. I'm assuming locally we would trade seed much more than we do now. I certainly wouldn't be growing any gynoecious cucumbers anymore.

    Her challenge last year was to grow a crop that you hadn't grown before. Which for non gardeners is a good challenge all on its own, and if you aren't like me who tries something new every year, it would push current gardeners out of their comfort zone. But I like this challenge better. It lets you see the cycles more. It makes you even more self reliant.

    engineeredgarden: There are quite a few plants that don't cross readily. The International Seed Saving Institute has a beginner's page. It will tell you all about the easiest ones. Though peppers shouldn't be on that list if you are growing more than one variety. Studies have been done and show they need 1/4 mile to keep from crossing. Peas, beans, lettuce are really easy and rarely cross.

    east-side-patch: Thanks.

  5. Hi Daphne I always take seeds from my harvest and when I buy seeds I try to get the heirlooms. It's a challange and great fun to grow you on seeds.

    Take care/Tyra the 'seedaholic'

  6. Glad you're joining us, Daphne! You may look into putting a light frost cloth over your pepper plant, to keep pollinators out. Then you'll just have to make sure you shake the plant every once in a while to pollinate.