Question About Seed Saving Equipment

Discussion in 'Gardening and Agriculture' started by JustAPrepper, Apr 17, 2011.

  1. JustAPrepper

    JustAPrepper Active Member

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    We are rookie gardeners and are in our second planting season. I have the book Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth but need to get some *stuff* before I can actually start saving the seeds.

    I've done some cursory research on a few things like Remay Bags but I thought I'd talk to the "experts" first before I start spending money on things that I may not really need.

    I've got some Heirloom Lettuce that bolted and is flowering right now and thought I might use that as my first experiment. I've also got some Green Onions that have been in the bed for months now. No sign of flowering but then again, I have no idea what to expect from them, or when, so I'm just letting them do their thing (or maybe I should actually be doing something?) I also had a Cilantro plant that flowered and I was going to try to get some seed from it to test my skills but it just flowered and died, no seed. This could be due to the fact that it was a store bought plant but after thinking about it some more, I actually think it might be because it was the *only* plant, no companion to help pollinate it, that seems to make better sense to me but I really don't know. :dunno: Same with the Parsley, one plant, still flowering but no sign of seeds. I'd also like to let a few Carrots and Beets go to seed but I have no idea how long that will take or what the process will be.

    So, what do you use to save your seed and if it's something purchased, where do you purchase it? Do I need Remay Bags? Screens of varying mesh? Specialty tools of the trade?

    Maybe somebody with experience could start a Seed Saving thread? I've never even seen veggies bolt or flower before so even before the actual seed saving process I have no idea what to expect from any of the plants or how long it takes. I am completely clueless. :confused:
     
  2. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

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    I don't use any specialty tools only a brown paper sack/old pillow case. Once the lettuce flowers and starts to seed. I put the sack over the heads, bend the stalk down and cut it. From there I tie it upside down for a few days (or when I remember to check it :gaah: lol) and let dry. (out of the weather) My Grams always put an old sheet down before to catch an seeds that fell while it was being bagged and cut. (that would be up to you). When the seeds are dry label and store, I use glass jars and the freezer.

    Now we will see how other save lettuce seeds and go from there.

    And you just started a Seed Saving thread. :2thumb:
     

  3. JustAPrepper

    JustAPrepper Active Member

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    Thanks, Andi!

    How long does it take for the lettuce to start seeding? Seems as though mine has been budding for a couple weeks now with a few actual flowers that have opened here and there. I ask because it's taking up valuable "real estate" in my little garden but, something that must be dealt with at some point. Just might help me plan better later like maybe saving seed from my fall batch instead of the spring batch? :dunno:
     
  4. CulexPipiens

    CulexPipiens Still waiting for the zombies.

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    I use ziplock bags and O2 absorbers, otherwise nothing fancy.

    Larger seeds (pumpkin, beans, etc.) I can easily collect by hand and in many cases this is after processing the food for eatings (i.e. cutting up the pumpkin). I'll clean them and put in a bowl to dry out. Every day or so I stir them up to make sure the ones on the bottom don't stay moist while the top ones dry out. Usually takes a few weeks, sometimes a month until everything feels and sounds dry. Yes, you can usually hear a difference when they dry out. I'll let them sit another few weeks to a month and then put in a ziplock bag with an O2 absorber, seal it up and label it.

    At this point you can store however you see fit. If they need cold, then fridge or freezer, if they don't then just inside a box away from the light.

    For smaller seeds like basil, lettuce, etc. Either clip the heads or just bend them over container and shake the seeds out if they're already mature and ready of collecting. Similar process in that I let them throughly dry and then pack away.

    In all my years of doing this I have only once put away seeds that weren't fully dried and a few months later found that ziplock back to be full of mold/fungus and the seeds in that bag ruined. Being individually package it kept any others from getting damaged.

    If you have smaller quantites of seeds you can get small ziplocks, for example 2" x 3", from most craft/hobby stores. Look in their bead section. In my case Hobby Lobby has a variety of smaller sizes. Also lots of places on the internet sell them if you don't have a local place.

    For seeds that aren't being cold stored I keep them in a large tackle box. Each compartment is just about right for a bag of seeds and the larger bottom area can hold the bigger seed bags. Cold stored seeds we usually just leave in our shed over the winter. Come spring I'll store them away too... at least the ones I don't use right away.
     
  5. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

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    I try and wait until about half the flowers on a plant have gone to seed. (no more green color to them) ... this can take a few weeks, You could take a bucket, sheet or etc. and bend the flowers over it and give it a few taps ... this will give you a clue to how they are coming along.

    As the plant is in bloon now I give a few more days ... should not be a long wait.;)
     
  6. DJgang

    DJgang I put SAs on IGNORE!

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    I bought heirloom tomato plants this year ....

    These are the ones that I need to save seeds from, correct?

    I am trying to get hubby in the "seed" frame of mind so he'll build me a greenhouse this fall. :D
     
  7. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

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    That would be the ones. :2thumb: When it comes to tomatoes I use fermentation process to save the seeds. Which works well for me.
     
  8. worldengineer

    worldengineer Well-Known Member

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    About heirloom plants. I have seen seed germinate and grow from hybrid plants. Is their any viability in saving them?
     
  9. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    You can save seeds from hybrid fruits and veggies but they do not reliably produce the same fruit year after year. you will probably end up with one or the other of the parent plants as a throw back.
    Open pollinated plants tend to give you the same fruit year after year. They are stable.
    Heirlooms are all open pollinated plants that have been passed down in families for many generations(usually) Fruit plants are usually called Antique instead of heirloom(who know why?)
    Some plant you don't have to do anything special to keep the seeds pure and some you have to put a bit of effort in to keep them from crossing.

    I have grown seeds that I took right out of store bought seeds and such just to see what would happen and while you usually end up with fruits- you might not get as high a quality as the original But sometimes you end up with something really nice. and worth working on to get it to breed true each year.

    I've grown lettuce and saved it's seed for years and I usually wait until a few of the dried blooms on a plant start to "puff" (The plant may be still alive and putting out a few blooms too)they look almost like mini dandelion puffs when they are ready to harvest... I then just cut the whole stem and hang it upside down in a big brown paper bag to catch any seed that falls.. After a few weeks drying out I open the bag carefully and check to see how it looks.. Usually all the really good seed heads will have opened and puffed and I just rub the seeds heads between my hands to break open the seed heads. Then I winnow the chaff in front of a fan on low (outside) to get mainly clean seed with little chaff. It is a bit tricky to get the hang of but once you do it a few times you get the hang of it... I often put a big sheet under where I am doing it to catch any spills.
    Now on lettuce crossing-most lettuce is self pollinating and by keeping different type plants away from one another by about 25 feet or so... I just put my different types in pots on each sides of the garden and sometimes up by the house in a pot. The plants in pots are not as big but they still put out more than enuf seeds per plant... I do try to have two of the same plants in a pot to save seed from.
     
  10. worldengineer

    worldengineer Well-Known Member

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    Thanks emerald. I usually just plant hybrids, because they are a lot easier to obtain. Lately I have been planting more heirlooms. Still new to seed saving and want to save only the best plants from each crop.

    Where are some good places to get them?
     
  11. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    I get most of mine from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds - 1400 heirloom garden seeds! and from doing online trades with members of another forum.
     
  12. DJgang

    DJgang I put SAs on IGNORE!

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    example: hybrid corn , if you were to use seeds from them, you could end up with just the cob, no corn...it's like inbred LOL

    Oh no *Andi ....seed fermentation ...what is that? Oh, I have so much to learn! LOL don't have to answer me, Ill do a little research before the tomatoes come in...thanks!
     
  13. OldCootHillbilly

    OldCootHillbilly Reverend Coot

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    Do share the technique on fermentin the tamater seeds!
     
  14. worldengineer

    worldengineer Well-Known Member

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    If I'm right I think tomato fermentation is saving both the seeds and the jelly they "float" in. You put 'em in a loose covered jar wait for some kind of bacteria to grow on them then you rinse them off.
     
  15. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    I add a bit of water too and any seeds that float with the yucky stuff get tossed as they usually aren't any good.
    For cucumbers I do almost the same as with tomatoes. You let the cucumber ripen till it falls off the vine(usually it becomes a bright yellow) I cut them down the middle and scoop out the jelly and seeds from the core into a mason jar and just put a piece of paper towel over it about 3 or 4 days later the good seeds sink to the bottom and yucky ones and yuck are all on top.

    And if you are wondering about bags for putting over your tomato blooms I got several free at a wedding, they were holding candy and are organza with drawstrings... And the best part was when I told my Aunt(it was my cousins wedding) that I wouldn't mind keeping them she gave me more that they were gonna toss.
    I also found a bag of 12 for a buck at a dollar store. If you look at hobby stores they even come in bigger sizes for bagging squash blooms and pumpkin blooms.
    But if you have remay cloth you could easily make your own (Oh if you know how to sew that is.. I keep forgetting that it is kinda a dying art),
    I've been thinking about getting some and making bags for my apples and peaches -that way I can forgo any spraying at all.. even tho I have organic stuff..
     
  16. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

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    saving tomato seeds ... my way

    Take your best tomato and slice it in half across the middle ... scoop out the seeds and their "goo" into a mason jar. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to the seeds. Cover the container with a coffee filter or paper towel ... using a rubber band to keep it in place. (They need air ;))

    Place the mixture in warm place ... Now let Mother Nature take over and begin to ferment the seed. This takes about two or three days. Each night remove the cover, stir the mixture, and then replace cover. It will start to look yucky when the fermentation process has seperated the "goo" from the seeds. It also helps destroy many of the possible tomato diseases that can be harbored by seeds. (so I have been told ;))

    Then pour yucky mixture :D into a sieve and rinse the seeds with water.

    Line a plate with a new coffee filter (paper towel). Place the seeds onto coffee filter and spread them about so they are in a single layer. Let the seeds dry for a few days... more or less if it is a rainy period give them a few more days.
     
  17. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

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    You could also try Southern seed exchange ... they are in Virginia. I love them. Great service and local. :D ... well ... in the state of Virginia. I will try the link again after the storms pass. :)gaah:)

    But the one Emerald posted is also great.
     
  18. CulexPipiens

    CulexPipiens Still waiting for the zombies.

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    Definite thumbs up for Baker Creek! Great selection. :2thumb:

    Also have purchased from Seeds of Change before and had good success.
     
  19. worldengineer

    worldengineer Well-Known Member

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    If I am correct you only get one seed? Or is that one pack of seeds? How many do you actually get?

    Cause they look awful expensive.