Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Saving Seeds

Tiger Eye Beans (from Dan)

With the move my seed saving is not quite what it was last year. But that doesn't mean I haven't been saving seeds. Some seeds are easy. My dried beans are both the harvest and the seed. So I have plenty of seeds for next year if I can keep myself from eating them all. They do need to be frozen for a few days to make sure all the weevils are dead, but before that they have to be absolutely dry. They are dry when they shatter when hit with a hammer. If they mush, they aren't dry enough. I've also started harvesting my coriander. It is finally ripe. I never picked any leaves (cilantro) as I wanted the seed to plant for next year.

Marigold seeds inside the dried heads

Marigolds growing in front of the tomatoes

The marigolds are so easy. I just waited a while and then picked the dried heads. The ones that I grow are Ground Control. They aren't the showiest of marigolds, but I love them as they keep the nematodes down. And though not as showy as one bred just for ornamental purposes, I think they are very pretty draping over the side of the rock wall. They like to grow up, but I just beat them down breaking their stems a little. They don't seem to care at all.

Tomato seeds drying

I didn't bother to save pepper seeds as they cross readily and I haven't isolated them at all this year. But the tomatoes are easy. They rarely cross and they are so easy to save. You just squeeze out the seeds into a bowl. Cover the bowl loosely to make sure it stays wet. And let them ferment for a few days.

Tomato seeds fermenting

They look pretty bad and smell bad, but it gets rid of the gel coating around each seed and is supposed to kill some diseases. After it looks just disgusting, you can pour off the gunk and rinse the seeds off and let them dry. I saved seeds from Black Prince, Heinz, Cherokee Purple, and Romeo Roma. I need to save some from GabrielleAnn still and maybe Amish Paste.


  1. I love saving marigold seeds! When I was younger, my dad would give me a small paper bag and would send me around the yard to pick the dried marigold seed heads. It's so easy to do, and they germinate wonderfully from the saved seeds. Now, I need to get out there and collect some from my garden!

  2. Hey Daphne, do you know if there's a difference between bad and beneficial nematodes? If there is, I wonder if there's away to encourage the good ones and dissuade the others.

  3. My seed saving is rather minimal this year as so many crops did not properly ripen on the vine (tomatoes) and yet others are taking WAY longer than normal to dry down due to the waves of juicy storm systems that have rolled through our area. We have had a bit of a dry spell today and yesterday, so I am hurriedly pulling the kidney beans and getting the whole plants into the shop to dry down today because another wet storm system is coming in later tonight.

  4. Funny, I just printed out some seed packets to store all the seeds I've saved this year. It's so nice to have seeds that work perfectly for my garden and don't cost me anything.

  5. Do you isolate your dried beans? Have any problems with them crossing? I am looking to add another variety but also want to continue saving the seeds.

  6. Still haven't gotten up my gumption to start seed's just too much fun to peruse all of the catalogues...even if I just buy the same things over and over.

  7. Kaytee, I don't think my mom collected any seed when I was young. Somewhere I picked it up though.

    Thomas, yes there is a difference. They are different species. In fact there are tens of thousands of species of nematode. So I'm guessing the "good" and the "bad" are each comprise thousands themselves. I have no clue if marigolds will hurt the good as well as the bad.

    kitsapFG, I missed some kidney beans and now they are germinating. Which is amazing since unlike you we haven't had rain.

    The Mom, I like the cost savings too. I always try to save as many as possible. Though I don't do the ones that take a lot of trouble to save.

    Lady Bug, no I don't. So far I've been fine, but I've only been saving bean seeds for a couple of years. Some places have insects that can cross them easily and some places don't. I guess I'll find out if my new house has issues or not.

    Ribbit, Oh I still peruse the catalogs. A lot :> I don't save seed from everything. Not even half of what I grow.

  8. Thank you. You just saved me an internet search. I was wondering if the tomatoes cross pollinated if they were grown close together. One more thing for self-sufficiency.

  9. Cheryl, most modern tomatoes are pretty safe. There are a few that can cross. They have long stigmas that stick out from the anther cone when the flowers first open. I wrote a post about it once:

  10. I just read the post about the long stigmas. Lots of good information. Of course I didn't check the flowers on the Brandywines, but I'm going to do what you did. Save the seeds, grow the plant, and hope for something good.

  11. Thank you so much for this post. This was helpful. I've never saved vegetable seeds, although I have done it with flowers.

    p.s. how do you put your radish and cucumber salad together and what do you dress it with?

  12. martha, I don't know. I've never made one before. I'll use onions for sure. I'll probably use a mandolin to make them all very thin. I'll probably use white balsamic vinegar and some sunflower oil. Dill? Probably. Sometimes I don't cook from recipes. I just toss things together.

  13. Thank you. I do that, too. What you're proposing sounds very good!