How to harvest vegetable seed
I’ve collected seed for many years. It’s an enjoyable hobby that increases our family self reliance and frugality.
“The art of saving seed has been practiced by Gardeners long before there were commercial seed producers.
In fact, most of the vegetables and flowers we have today owe their existence to the fact that these early Gardeners, with an eye for quality, saved the seed of their best plants, sowed them the next year, and in this way improved the species.
In recent years, the responsibility for maintaining and improving vegetable seed has been assumed by seed companies; however, it is still possible for home Gardeners to save their own seed. To do so successfully, they must be familiar with the basics.” 2
Quick Facts about seed saving
- Home Gardeners were perpetuating and improving vegetable varieties through seed selection before there were commercial seed producers.
- Garden plants are wind, insect or self-pollinated.
- Seed saved from self-pollinated crops are most likely to come true to variety.
- Biennial Crops do not bear seed the first year.
- Hybrids do not come true from seed. 2
Josiah harvests our vegetable seeds
We have saved interesting seeds from many plants, some of varieties uncommon in NZ
We let plants grow old, produce seed and harvest it. We store the seed in used envelopes. We write the date the seed was harvested on the envelope. Then we know which seed is oldest and which is most fresh.
These are parsley.
These are silverbeet seeds.
The seeds are all for kitchen garden type vegetables.
Seeds are free and abundant. Once you start saving seed you may not buy seed again. It’s exciting to swap seed too, or give seed away. Susy Morris holds up seeds in her hand.
References & photo credits
1. Feature photo of seeds by Susy Morris http://www.flickr.com/photos/chiotsrun/3880212620/
2. J.E. Ells, Colorado State University Extension vegetable crop specialist and associate professor (retired), horticulture and landscape architecture. Reviewed by D. Whiting, Colorado State University Extension specialist, consumer horticulture and Colorado Master Gardener coordinator and resident instructor. 2/96. Reviewed 3/08.
3. photo of seeds on hand by Susy Morris http://www.flickr.com/photos/chiotsrun/3880199640/in/photostream/
4. Photo of dried bean seed by Andrea Parish – Geyer, http://www.flickr.com/photos/tinytall/4946890397/