Gardener_s Guide to Seed Saving

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Thomas LeRoy
Montgomery County Extension Agent –
Horticulture
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To preserve our heritage and biodiversity.
To control your food supply.
To preserve the varietal characteristics you
want.
To develop and preserve strains adapted to
your growing conditions.
Because it’s a fun and enjoyable addition to our
gardening experience.
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The first generation of a cross between two
different parent varieties (inbred lines).
Offspring produced are a new uniform seed
variety with characteristics from both parents.
One unique characteristic of F1 hybrids is their
uniformity.
Seed saved from F1 hybrid plants will not
come true if replanted and may exhibit distinct
differences in the second generation.
Hybrid varieties are not good choices for seed
savers.
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Natural or human selection for specific traits
which are then reselected every crop.
Seed is kept true to type through selection and
isolation.
Flowers of open pollinated varieties are
pollinated by bees or other insects.
Genetic traits of open pollinated varieties are
relatively fixed within a range of variability.
Asparagus
Carrots
Cress
Okra
Radish
Beets
Cauliflower
Endive
Onion
Rhubarb
Broccoli
Chard
Leek
Parsley
Rutabaga
Corn
New
Zealand
Spinach
Parsnips
Spinach
Celery
Squash
Cucumber
Melons
Pumpkin
Gourds
Cabbage
Eggplant
Peppers
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Beans, Peas, Lettuce & Tomatoes
A plant with a life cycle that is completed in
two years or seasons, with the second season
usually devoted to flowering and fruiting.
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Self pollinated plants are easier for the novice
seed saver.
Cross pollinated plants must be protected from
foreign pollen.
Isolate varieties to ensure quality seed
production.
Hand pollination may be required for some
varieties.
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Varieties must be
isolated.
Choose your earliest and
best developed ears.
Cover ears with paper
sacks to keep insects out.
Allow cob to develop
and dry out on stalks as
long as possible.
Remove seeds from cobs
when fully dry.
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Collect ripe fruit from
plants exhibiting the most
desirable traits.
Eliminate any plants
showing abnormal
characteristics or poor
health.
Remove the pulp and seed
from ripe fruit and
ferments for two to five
days in water. Seed will
settle to the bottom and can
be separated using a fine
mesh strainer.
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Great care must be taken
to prevent crosspollination with other
related varieties.
Allow fruit to become
overripe but not rotten.
Cut fruit open and
remove seed.
Rinse in a strainer and let
dry.
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Isolate plants up to one
mile.
Consider caging a
group of plants, or
bagging the flowers to
maintain purity.
The pods are simply left
on the plants until fully
mature.
Pods are then dried and
broken open to remove
seeds.
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Isolation of beans and
peas is not generally
required in order to
maintain purity.
Allow pods to remain on
the plants as long as
possible.
In humid climates, leave
plants in the field as long
as possible.
Then pull up plants and
hang upside down in a
dry place.
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Pollination is
accomplished by insects.
All of the species will
cross with each other. If
you wish to grow more
than one variety in a
species to seed in a
season, you must either
isolate at least one half
mile or cage the varieties
(and introduce bees or
pollinating insects into
the cages).
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Separate varieties
flowering at the same
time by at least 20 feet to
ensure purity.
Wait until half the
flowers on each plant has
gone to seed. Cut entire
top of plant and allow to
dry upside down in an
open paper bag.
Small amounts of seed
can be shaken daily from
individual flowering
heads.
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Allow seed to dry naturally on the plant.
Remove seeds and allow it to air dry.
Fermentation.
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