Tag Archives: Non-hybrid

GARDEN JOURNAL ** SEED SAVING ** It’s time!

 

 

Saved Cilantro Seeds. Cilantro seeds are also known as coriander

Saved Cilantro Seeds. Cilantro seeds are also known as coriander

End of summer and into Fall is the time for seed saving!

3 reasons to save your own seeds:

1. It’s a planet friendly, sustainable, resourcing saving thing to do. When you save your own seeds to plant next spring you save the paper and ink it takes to package seeds, you save on the fuel it takes to ship and you save the water it takes to grow all the seeds that get shipped every year. It really adds up when you think of how many people order seeds every year.

2. Saving seeds saves money. Good quality organic seeds go up in price every year. Why not harvest what we have in our gardens and save our cash?

3. Saving seeds is FUN! It’s a great activity to do with kids. I keep same handy to work on when I sit down to talk on the phone or watch a movie. The best part is when I get to plant seeds I grew in the spring!

When I started ordering seeds for my garden 3 years ago I only ordered only open-pollinated seeds. When you save seeds from open-pollinated seeds you know the crops you harvest the next summer are going to be the same vegetable you harvested the year before. I avoided all hybrid seeds when I did my initial ordering. Hybrid seeds are produced by artificially cross-pollinating plants. Folks in the agriculture business starting creating hybrids to improve the characteristics of the resulting plants, such as better yield, greater uniformity, improved color, longer shelf life and disease resistance for the mass commercial market. The downside for gardeners in all this is that hybrid seeds do not grow the same plants the next year from saved seeds. Hybrid seeds can revert back to any of the plants that it was initially crossed with when it was created and that’s what makes for inconsistencies in plants grown from hybrid seeds. Farmers who use hybrid seeds have to buy seeds every year from the seed companies that produce hybrid seeds.

Heirloom seeds are open-pollinated seeds that have proven their value over a long period of time. The value may be in the flavor, productivity, hardiness or adaptability of the fruit or vegetable produced from the seed. Many heirlooms have been grown, saved and passed down in the same families for generations; some even go back 300 years. As home gardeners and small market farmers we get the benefit of this long development cycle, as only the best producing, most flavorful, most memorable and most dependable varieties have made the selection throughout the years.

All heirloom seeds are open-pollinated seeds but all open-pollinated seeds are not heirloom. Some open pollinated seeds are newer varieties that are bred to be stable in what they produce from seeds saved but they may not be old varieties.

The one thing I ran into in my garden that you may want to watch out for is… When I planted regular green zucchini seeds to close to yellow crook neck squash seeds what I got was my own unintentional hybrid with the help of the pollinators in my garden. I ended up with some very strange half crook neck – half zucchini looking squash. I ate these strange naturally created hybrids but I did not save their seeds! A great book on seed saving (and it tells you how far apart to plant seeds that are in the same family to avoid unintentional hybrids) is Suzanne Ashworth’s book Seed to Seed.

Harvesting cilantro seed

harvesting cilantro seed

green beans drying on the vine

Green beans drying on the vine