Monday, October 03, 2005

seed saving etc.

Yesterday was spent harvesting seeds so I don't have to buy them next year. I cut open whatever vegetable, cull the seeds, remove any extra material and set them out to dry. After about a week, they should be okay to store. This way, I don't have to buy any seeds for next year. I put aside red bell pepper, the pickling cucumber, yellow squash, zucchini, and one kind of pumpkin so far. Also, 4 kinds of tomatoes: Elbi, Brandywine, Genovese, and Juliet. Tomato seeds must be sqeezed into a jar with water added. This is necessary to remove the gel sacs that surround each seed which actually act to prevent sprouting. After a mold forms on the top of the water, decant whatever seed/flotsam has accumulated at the top. Viable seed will be on the bottom. Then dry and pack away for next year. I'm hoping I have enough that I can start seedlings early and have an heirloom seedling sale in the spring. Had another run in with the yellow garden spider. And there are only 4 bunnies left. I'm not sure what got one and left all the others.


Blogger Liz said...

I love that you save your own seeds. How is it working out with cucurbits? Do you hand pollinate? I ask because the seed co-op I get my seeds from has had some trouble with cross pollination, and I haven't tried to save squash seeds yet because of that issue.

7:24 PM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

This is the first time I've tried saving seed. All the varieties I'm saving seed from are open-pollinated. I haven't done any hand pollinating. I had a good crop of cucumbers this year so I suppose the tons of insects flitting around are doing their job. I got the original seeds from Seed Savers Exchange. Is that the same one you refer to? We'll see what happens. If a little cross pollination occurs,it's interesting anyway. This year I planted three kinds of pumpkins, two were Curcurbita maxima and the company warned me that they should be planted 1/4 mile apart. I didn't do it. So Musquee de Provence and the Cinderella pumpkin cross pollinated to prodice a pumpkin that looked like a giant orange pear. Pretty, but nothing like the parents. But I got plenty of the other two, so I wasn't too put out. I do hope the tomatoes work out though.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

I think tomatoes are fail-safe because they self-pollinate. Because cucurbits have male & female flowers, and the insects that pollinate them flit from flower to flower, you can get (let's say) cucumber pollen on a zucchini flower. What I've read you should do is this: when you notice a female squash flower about to bloom, tape it shut the night before. In the morning, hand pollinate with a male flower of the same variety, but a different plant. Then tape the female shut so no other pollen is introduced.

It always seemed like so much work, I decided to let the "experts" grow my seeds. :)

I get my seeds from Fedco, by the way. Definitely write for a's a priceless resource.

11:38 AM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

Hand pollinating seems like a great deal of work. I see myself doing it a few times and then giving up. I think I just need to make sure that I don't plant more than one of the same species. One C. maxima and one C. moschata. Have you ever grown tomatoes from seed? I have not and am wondering if I actually need a heat mat, grow lights etc. Or if a warm room and sunny window is satisfactory.

12:41 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

They germinate best with heat, and we use a mat, but something a friend does is to start them in an oven with a pilot light, until they germinate. I do this with eggplants & peppers and it really speeds things up (because otherwise it takes weeks).

2:51 PM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

I have an electric range. No pilot light. Darn. Where did you buy your mat? Fedco?

2:45 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

We got our mat at Agway. Any good garden center should have them, though I'm sure Fedco has them in the Grower's Supplies section of the catalog.

9:30 AM  

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