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Saving seeds (Basic information)

 
pollinator
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Location: Utah
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Brassicas: These are your cabbages, kales, collards, and so on. They are an annual, so they seed the year they are first planted. With broccoli and cabbage, you are actually eating the seed head so if you want them to go to seed you need to not eat it. Let the seeds dry completely before harvesting.

Alliums: These are your onions, leeks and so on. They are either annual or bi-annual (seed the second year) depending on the plant. They form a round seed head and each piece will have a number of seeds in it. Let the seed head dry completely before harvesting.

Carrots: These form a flat seed head in their second year (bi-annual). Leave the best roots in the ground for seeds the next summer. Put a paper bag over the head as it starts to dry to catch the seeds.

Squashes: Summer, cucumbers, and winter squash. Eating stage may not be harvest stage. Let your seed fruit stay on the vine until it literally falls off, if that is possible. Squashes will harden (and summer squashes will be MUCH larger than you might expect). If frost hits or something else happens and you can't leave it on the vine until it's fully ripe, leave it to sit until the color changes. Viable seeds will be fat and won't squish flat easily.

Melons: For most melons, leave on the vine until fully ripe. By the time they're ready to eat, they'll have viable seeds. Viable seeds will be fat and won't squish flat easily.

Fruiting plants (tomatoes, peppers, etc): These usually have seeds inside. If the fruit is fully ripe, harvest a few seeds from each fruit. Peppers are not ripe when they're green but will need additional time on the vine.

Beans: Leave a few plants to fully ripen at the end of the season. They are dry when they rattle in the pod.

Let seeds dry completely before storing them. Keep them in a cool, dark place. Mark the type and year of harvest on each package. Most fresh seeds should last upwards of five years if stored correctly. Melons, squashes, and beans you can count on ten years or more. Essentially, the smaller the seed the less food they have to survive an extended period.
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Brassica seed pods and seeds
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Lettuce seed plants
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Onion seed stalks
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Onion seed head
 
pollinator
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Hi I just wanted to add that some brassicas are biennials, but mainly don't try to collect seed from more than one type at once;  broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and so on will cross easily and the resulting offspring are most likely to be less desirable than the parent plants: a cabbage that makes tiny spindly "broccolis" instead of heading up, for example.
 
Lauren Ritz
pollinator
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Galadriel Freden wrote:Hi I just wanted to add that some brassicas are biennials, but mainly don't try to collect seed from more than one type at once;  broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and so on will cross easily and the resulting offspring are most likely to be less desirable than the parent plants: a cabbage that makes tiny spindly "broccolis" instead of heading up, for example.



Very true. This goes for all of the mentioned plants. Multiple varieties of lettuce, squash, etc., will require special treatment. I was trying to cover the basics, and this was one of the items I discarded. I don't grow brassicas (except accidentally) but I plant different varieties of onions, beets, carrots, etc, on alternate years if I'm concerned about purity.
 
pollinator
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I posted links to some free seed saving manuals/info on another seed saving thread.

https://permies.com/t/119731/started-saving-vegetable-seeds#968527

The links are to four pdf files and they differ quite a bit so it's a good variety of information, from veggies to trees
 
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