This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

saving seeds

BUTTERCUP SQUASH SEEDS 081 Today I roasted one of my delicious buttercup squash and I'm saving these seeds from it.

Each year I try to save one or two more types of seeds. For a few years now, I've saved Chinese pole beans, cayenne and Thai hot peppers. I sprouted my own sweet potatoes and garlic. For this year, I have also saved seeds from red runner beans, buttercup squash, and a mix of nasturtiums.

Saving seeds is Free! You to gradually improve the variety so that it becomes adapted to your garden conditions. And you save all the resources that would have gone into the packaging, shipping and selling of the seeds.

It's easiest to save seeds from fruit-producing crops that tend not to cross pollinate. This includes beans, peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes. Squashes will cross pollinate if different varieties they are grown close by each other. (I grow buttercup and butternut squashes together, but I got such fantastic sweet squash from a volunteer buttercup last year that I am saving its seeds this year. Maybe I will end up with a crossed variety someday.)

I've never saved seeds from a crop that doesn't produce fruit. Maybe this year would be a good time to try. This would include broccoli, kale, cabbages, lettuces and other greens, herbs like cilantro and basil, and roots like beets, carrots and onions. We don't usually let the crops flower and go to seeds, but it's quite easy to get lettuce and cabbages to bolt in mid summer. They make pretty yellow or white flowers that will eventually hold the seeds. I think the root vegetables are usually biennial and will go to seed if they are left in the ground a second year. Parsley is a biennial too. I always let my parsley grow two years, but I cut off the flower stalks. This is a seed I could start to save.

I'm still going over my crops from last year and recording how they did. When I finish I will pick a couple of my favorites and put them on my seed saving list for next year.

Last fall I made a video on how to save seeds for E-How. Here's the link.



Blogger Dewberry said...

I also save seeds from my crops, it's the economical way to have lots of vegetables and flowers every year. Greetings from snowy Poland!

January 21, 2013 2:42 AM

Blogger Vanessa said...

I always save cilantro seed after it bolts. You also get fantastic volunteer plants too!

January 21, 2013 12:26 PM

Anonymous Julie said...

Yay! Another seed saver. We have been saving seed from broccoli, chard, beets, lettuce, basil, onions, dill, carrots, celery and more for years, along with our fruit seeds. It's a money and resource saver. The carrots are so beautiful when the flower and wow do they produce some seed. Letting the crops flower and go to seed attracts tons of beneficial insects too.

January 22, 2013 9:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this! I also garden here in Belmont. I haven't tried squash, but always save seeds from marigolds, impatiens, dill, coriander, nasturtiums, beans, and also bulbs from garlic and shallots-- all do wonderfully. The marigolds and garlic especially get better and better each year. I did let some kale flower and got seeds from it this year and am going to try it this spring- hope it works. I will try your squash idea if I get some. It's all so fun!

January 22, 2013 10:06 PM

Blogger kathy said...

Cilantro seeds are very hard to save.... I saved a big baggie full of cilantro seeds last year, but they are fast disappearing into chilis and marinated and meat rubs.... I may prefer to buy seed and eat all my coriander.

I can't wait to save as many seeds as you Julie!!

January 25, 2013 12:53 PM

Blogger redbird said...

I never really thought about saving seeds for some odd reason until I heard this very touching story about a man saving flower seeds from his grandma's garden so he could always have them even after she was gone. They were just a type of zinnia that could be found in a catalog, but there was something about planting seeds from flowers planted by grandma which she had been saving each season for a very long time. And's free, which is very, very good when one is addicted to gardening!

January 27, 2013 8:31 AM


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