Photo by: http://www.natureatorganic.com/newspaper-on-food/images/Organic%20seeds.jpg
In the wilds, plants bear fruits and naturally would fall to the ground where some of the seeds from the fruit would sprout in springtime and the whole process starts again… It’s plant’s circle of life.
Saving seeds have been practiced by early humans for food security. In todays world, the more we need to save seed and there are a lot of good reasons why. Saving seeds help you have a consistent quality and grow better crops each time. Some want to keep the heirloom seeds passed on to them by their ancestors. Others do it for seeds security reasons as some big seed company has stopped producing numerous excellent plant varieties in favor of the highly profitable hybrid types. Saving your own seeds assures you of the steady supply of the more nutritious crops. For the more serious farmers and gardeners, saving seeds of their prized plants grown on their own land helps them develop a better variety that is adapted to their soil and climate. Another good reason is saving money. Business is all about making money, large seed companies are no exemption. To maintain good profit, some companies no longer discard inferior seeds, but instead mix them up with the good seeds in their packaging and this spells production loss for farmers. I for one save seeds to make sure that what I’m growing comes not from a genetically modified material.
Here are some of the basics in saving seeds. When choosing the type of seeds you want to save, the best practice is to choose open-pollinated varieties. These are non-hybrid plants whose seeds are true generation after generation. There are two types of open- pollinated varieties, the self –pollinating which are the easiest to save you seeds from, they will grow and yield the same plant like the original for generations. The other type is the cross pollinating varieties which need to receive pollen from other plants of the same type to produce a true seed as the original. The pollination process is usually done either by insects or wind and will require a larger population in order to maintain healthy crops.
The best time to harvest your seeds for saving is when you see the fruits housing the seeds has matured or when the seeds are well formed and drying. This takes a little time, practice and patience to master and get used to the process.
When storing the seeds, be sure that they are completely dry and this usually takes 5 to 7 days via air drying. Dry your wet seeds on ceramic plates by spreading them evenly on the surface. To keep them from clumping together and ensure even drying, stir them often. Never dry them on paper towels to speed up drying, they will stick so hard on the paper, it will be impossible to take them off. If the place is humid, you can use silica gel or desiccant to take the moisture off. You can keep the seed for a longer period of time by storing them in freezer inside a glass jar.
Seeds are given to us by plants free of charge, let us continue this wonderful tradition of saving nature’s gift in our garden.
Have fun gardening!