Good morning everyone!
As promised, I am back again sharing with you how I save seeds from our garden every single year to plant the next year.
January 2013 310
After writing the post yesterday and answering some really great questions from other readers, I realized I need to share how you save and catch seeds from the plants that have really tiny seeds that come out of flower heads.  Plants such as chives, herbs, lettuce, spinach, kale, etc, all will form seed heads or sprigs in the late fall, and if you time it right, you can let some of it go to seed and harvest for the following planting season. All I do is purchase those inexpensive gauze mesh bags (fine mesh) that are in the gift section at every dollar store and most craft stores, and tie it around the top of the plants, encasing the seed head in there. That way as the seeds fall, you collect them inside the bag, and in a couple days, have more than enough seed for planting and sharing. At that point I remove the plant, shake the seeds completely into the bag, and set it aside for labeling in a paper envelope.
Tomatoes are one of those things that you can either just buy new seeds each year (they can be a hassle for saving seeds)….or you can try my way of doing things. Each year as my plants begin to die back, I leave one tomato on each one. When I pull the plants out, I take that tomato, and tear it in half (by now it is shriveled and rather yucky) and dig two holes in my raised bed where I will be planting tomatoes the following  year (I rotate green beans and tomatoes every year to help the soil stay strong). I have had so many amazingly good, strong plants come up this year from doing this that I will be doing it from now on in the future instead of trying to purchase plants or grow my own from seeds. They are strong, healthy, and vigorous, and seem resistant to anything that affected my tomatoes in past years! Once the plants begin to come up, you can simply separate out the ones that you want to plant elsewhere, and give some away to friends….or you can be like me and hate culling anything, so you end up with a ton of tomato plants. 🙂 When you bury the parts of the tomato, be sure to drop in a little eggshell and epsom salt too, to give it a good boost in the Spring!
Potatoes are one of those things that for centuries farmers would simply set the best of their crop aside, and save it for seed potatoes for next year. We set a small portion of our potato patch aside each year and dig it up right before  the first frost is going to hit. Leaving the earth on them, we set them carefully into a basket, or bucket, and put them in the coolest, darkest corner of the basement. Every year we have big, beautiful potatoes from our seed potatoes. Most store bought potatoes are sprayed with sprout-resistant spray, but if you get a bag of potatoes that is starting to send out shoots and developing roots, then by all means, plant them as soon as the ground can be worked and will not freeze solid again. Potatoes are a staple crop that people should know how to grow and save, because a single piece of potato with an eye can produce up to ten pounds of potatoes! Talk about feeding  your family for cheap! We normally get four to five plants out of one potato, so that is a lot of good eating. 🙂
Herbs are handled a little differently. Some will go to seed earlier than others, and most you can handle just as you did the lettuce or spinach, using the mesh bags. But others you have to watch carefully, and be sure to cut them back so they keep producing until you are ready to let it go to seed. Plants like basil are annuals in most places, and will literally have thousands of seeds per plant……… just have to pull up the plant, rub the seed pods off the stalks, and store. Once those small seed pods are ready, you can shake the seeds right out of them into the envelope.
Carrots are one thing I have never been successful in saving seed for, simply because they are a bi-annual, and I simply don’t have the patience to leave a portion of my beds for them to go to seed for an entire summer when I could be growing something else. I would sure like to try it this coming year, so if I get a chance, I will let you know how it turns out.
Things like melons and squash are easy as can be,
just remove the seeds and let dry on a plate, then store until the following year. Onions, if allowed to flower, will have seed heads full of tiny seeds, but I have not had great luck with them producing full onions when you use the seeds. It might be the length of my growing season, living in a northern climate.
Anyhow, I hope that helps you save and stow some seeds. I would greatly encourage you, for your peace of mind with the way things are going right now in our country, and in the world in general, to store seeds, or at the very least, purchase seeds for  next growing season. Better to be safe than sorry, and when it comes to feeding your family, a single seed can reproduce itself a thousand times over, and give you pounds of fresh produce in return for a little care, water, and weeding.
Blessings to you and yours,
WHY should you save your seeds? Read this great article I found yesterday while doing research for another home improvement project around The Welcoming House……..
Click here