Six months ago, master gardeners planted thousands of vegetables in preparation for the May sale. By putting those tiny seeds in the soil, it is easy to imagine how anything could come out of something so small. But throughout the gardening years, they have developed a strong belief in race, and I am still not upset.
In the Valley’s gardens, September is a month’s worth of vegetables. Tomatoes and beans with 7-foot-tall supports abound. Cucumbers, watermelons, and pumpkin grapes run the distance in the garden. Every time I open a garden, I find a new group of seeds, inspiring my optimism and great hopes for the next gardening season.
Saving seeds for planting next year is an old myth, but rapid plant 101 education cannot hurt. Open-flowered plants (mostly heirlooms and older species) can be fertilized by wind or insects to produce fruit and produce true seeds. If you plant an “Oregon home” squash, and you are sure there are no flowering plants in your garden with other plants, the seeds you have saved from this year’s crop will produce “Oregon home” squash next year, and nothing more.
Hybrids are another story. Breeding seeds, carefully and deliberately rotated by two different species to obtain certain desirable traits, do not produce as much as their parents, and often do not survive.
If there is a crossroads between two species in an open, contaminated plant, you may have a very different seed from the parent. To avoid the possibility of wind-polluted crops, there should be no other species when pollen is released within a mile. For insect-contaminated crops, there must be a quarter of a million different species. Most home gardeners should take advantage of the opportunity to grow these seeds.
Commonly contaminated vegetables are broccoli (broccoli, cabbage, mustard, collar, cabbage, colorium, cabbage, onion, radish, Brussels sprouts), curries (summer pumpkins, winter pumpkins, pumpkins, melons), carrots, parsnips and beets. Varieties of these plants can be easily transferred not only to each other but also to any relatives that can grow at the same time. If you are not very careful about cross-breeding, expect Frankstein-Ish broccoli flowers, pumkins, or cucumbers from the seeds stored in these groups.
Peas, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant grow on their own (pollen from one flower or from another flower) and their stored seeds produce more predictable results. Although they can propagate pollen, they are genetically stable. In this group, rescuing seeds from self-contaminated or open contaminated plants produces the same plant unless the cross is among the hybrid species. It helps when only one species grows at a time (one egg or one pepper), and when your neighbors grow different varieties of the same plant.
To get started, choose from your healthy and strong plants. Collect the straw for dry crops such as beans and peas when they are completely dry, brown and fragile and easy to divide. Do not wait too long to harvest, for later the very wet or very dry ripe seeds will not be useful. Complete the drying process by spreading the seeds on a screen in a well-ventilated and dry place. As the seed continues to dry out, the straw and straw can be removed by hand or fan.
Before harvesting tomatoes, allow the fruits to ripen slightly. Mix the tomatoes in half, put the seeds and seeds in a glass container, add a little water and leave to boil for 2-3 days. The fungus then eats away at the globe. Then add water to the container. Healthy pure seeds go down. Drain the sediment and destroy the seeds. Many showers may be needed. Then spread the seeds on paper towels to dry.
For peppers, cut the overcooked pepper in half and slide your fingers over the pulp. Dry on paper towels at room temperature for two or three days.
At temperatures between 32 and 41 degrees Fahrenheit, you can store different types of seeds in individual paper bags. Refrigeration is ideal.
Savings Exchange (www.seedsavers.org) is one of the largest seed banks in the United States. Their book, “Crop Seeds – Techniques for Gardeners to Save and Grow Seeds” has been widely recognized as the best guide for home gardeners.