...if you have a backyard and a kitchen, this blog might be for you!

a chronicle of tips and recipes on everything from gardening to canning and baking your produce, even if you're planted in suburbia...in fact, especially if you are planted in suburbia.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Saving Seeds for Next Season

(As usual, my summer gardening shoes are left to dry at the bottom of the back stoop, as barefoot I clean the day's harvest.)

I find this to be one of the most interesting times in the gardening year. It is the time when I feel immortal as I walk down the rows. Summer plants are at every stage of development: newly planted seeds are just popping their first few leaves out to the sun, others more grown are full-bodied and offer hearty fruit on the vine, and still others grow weary of life and are ready to retire to compost the soil of a future generation. I watch my shadow fall across them all as I run inspection, looking for promising specimens for seed-saving purposes.

These dill plants are going to spend a while drying in a paper bag, then I'll put the seeds that fall from the plant matter into an envelope, label it and store them for next spring. (Although I found my dill re-seeded itself just fine without my doing a thing!)

Many different garden veggies can be purchased as seedlings. Flowers, too. But, if you plan to garden year after year, you might want to save a little money by saving a few seeds. I started today's project by doing a little on-line review. Here are a few websites that have both nice reading and good instructional videos to watch:

(This one has a dandy little list of tips and warnings if you scroll down the page a bit.)

(If you look to the side of the screen on this website, you'll see links to videos on the topic, too. For instance, this one tells how to save cucumber seeds:

You'll see in the videos how very easy it is to harvest seeds for future gardening needs.

Here I chose one of the better-looking green peppers from a pepper plant and simply plopped down on the back steps, sliced it open and scraped out some seeds. I'll let them dry for a few days and then put them in an envelope labeled "green pepper seeds, garden 2010" to save for next spring.

I also harvested zinnias for seed. I found the "ehow" website to be beneficial here, too, both with a text article and a video link:



Finally, I took a few green beans and used the "threading" technique. They'll hang in my kitchen window for a couple of weeks before I break open the pods and put the seeds in an envelope, label and store them in a cool dark place for next spring.
Time to go out and pick that yellow-ripe cucumber now, so I can get some of next year's seeds of promise from it. Happy seed collecting!

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