Its that time of year again.
While the days still have a hint of warmth to them, with a touch of mugginess,
I know the cooler days of fall are not far behind them….
The plants are beginning to show it too, giving up the last of their best fruits, and slowly beginning to turn.
The corn is going from green to pale brown in the fields, and everywhere I look I can catch a few falling leaves lazily floating down from the tree branches.
The tomatoes are giving up the last of their fat red fruits for homemade salsa and spaghetti sauce, and the beans just look………sad.
So I decided not only is it time to start getting the garden beds ready for winter’s long sleep, but also saving the best of the garden for seeds……….
And it really is such an easy process. 🙂
However, since I know people ask, I thought I would just share my process with you.
Different seeds are handled different ways……..
Green beans are taken out of the pods and laid on a tray in the dehydrator or on a plate to air dry. It has been really humid here, so I am choosing the dehydrator route this year.
Actually, all my beans are handled this way except for my dry beans, such as the Cherokee Tears and the Jacob’s Cattle beans. Those dry on the plants and when I see that they rattle in the pods (couple more weeks) then they are picked off the plants, taken out, and placed directly in paper envelopes that I create.
Today we are going to talk about how I handle green/wax beans, pepper seeds, eggplant seeds, and Sunflower seeds…..
One of the things that I do with green and wax beans, both of which are used in my “green Bean Soup” recipe, is simply letting the plants grow some of their beans to huge size, and letting them begin to dry on the plant. At that point I shell the beans, lay them on a plate, label them, and then place them in the dehydrator on a really low temperature, such as 115*. Once they are hard and I can not indent the seed with my fingernail, they get stored, and labeled for the following year.
Pepper seeds are also easy, because each pepper contains a large amount of seeds with one pepper.Sweet peppers are seeded, and the seeds laid flat on a paper plate and then placed in a dry cool place. My dehydrator is an Excalibur and has quite a fan going, and those seeds are just so light, it is easier to dry them in one place. Hot peppers simply get cut in half, and then placed in the dehydrator. Once they are stored in a glass jar in my cupboard, the seeds shake out, and get stored in paper envelopes for the coming year.
Eggplant seeds are handled the same way. I dry slices of eggplant from the very best eggplant in the dehydrator, and then once they are dry, rub the seeds right out of it. It really can’t get easier than that, for sure! On all of the plants I listed above I have been using the same seeds for four or more years, each year taking the best of the crop and saving them for the coming season.
Sunflowers, though, are certainly a favorite, if you can beat the birds to it. 🙂
Take the heads of the sunflowers on the petals have begun to fall off, and lay them in a cool, dry and dark place, then cover with a cotton kitchen towel to keep any bugs off. Once the heads are rough and dry, rub the seeds right out of the head. Depending on the type of sunflower you grow, you can have fantastic snacks, because each sunflower head can create a LOT of seeds!
Just be sure to save some back for the following year.
It never ceases to amaze me how one single seed can multiply itself over and over again, ending up with a full harvest from one plant, and enough seeds to plant an entire garden of just one thing.
One of those miracles of life I am incredibly thankful for every single year.
What about you?Â
Do you save your seeds from year to year,Â
or just buy new?
Come back tomorrow when I share with you how I handle saving herb seeds, potatoes, and tomatoes, which are far easier than you think! Imagine never having to purchase seeds again!
Blessings to you and yours,Â