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! Harvesting seeds from your groceries  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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@Joseph L.: "The sugarbeets that I have grown, or that I picked up that had fallen off trucks, were sterile, and didn't make seeds."

Pretty much all commercial sugarbeet will be that way. There are likely some varieties from the heirloom catalogs that may not be, but American and European sugarbeet varieties, historically diploid and triploid respectively, are all male sterile.  Some may not even be fertile using pollen transfer.

Reference below from:  https://books.google.com/books?id=o27wCAAAQBAJ&dq=diploid+versus+triploid+us+sugarbeet+europe&source=gbs_navlinks_s

beetbreeding.JPG
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Had never occurred to me to think of sugar beets as a garden crop. Has anyone here cooked 'em and what are they like?

First seed info I came to:
http://www.mypatriotsupply.com/Sugar_Beet_Heirloom_Survival_Seeds_p/sugar_beet.htm

Producing commercial sugar beet seeds:
https://www.crystalsugar.com/sugarbeet-agronomy/crystal-beet-seed/producing-sugarbeet-seed/

BTW, anyone else here prefer beet sugar to cane sugar? I find beet sugar has that little bit of extra flavor (it has traces of the same chemical as gives that good smell to fresh bread and fine flavor to jasmine rice).


[BTW, the "Post reply" button on this page is going to the site front page, not to a reply form]
 
John Weiland
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@ Rez Z.: " Has anyone here cooked 'em and what are they like?"

Standard sugarbeet varieties are bred for sugar production and not palatability....and IMHO, it shows.  There are some sugarbeet varieties as you indicated that are heirloom and may have been selected not only for sugar, but for use as an eating vegetable.  Seems like if one wished to and had open pollinated stock that one could breed to keep sugar up as well as move towards better flavor.  One difference will be immediately noticable:  Sugarbeets sit lower into the ground than table beets.  This makes harvesting table beets relatively simple when compared to a sugarbeet.  Be prepared with a good digging spade if you wish to harvest sugarbeets in any efficient manner that does not use mechanization. Still, good to consider this crop along with others for wide range of growth and rote calories.
 
Rez Zircon
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John Weiland wrote:Be prepared with a good digging spade if you wish to harvest sugarbeets in any efficient manner that does not use mechanization. Still, good to consider this crop along with others for wide range of growth and rote calories.



Good to know. Guess I won't grow any just for kicks, then. (I could go down the road and pick some up, if I really wanted to try 'em.) Aside from my own preference for beet sugar, I think they're a sufficiently important alternative to sugarcane that it's good folks are keeping old varieties alive.
 
John Weiland
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@Rez Z.: " Guess I won't grow any just for kicks, then."

Actually, I just had a thought with regard to these last few posts.  Sugarbeet has been a rather industrialized crop since the 1700s-1800s.  For that reason, it's not generally considered a garden crop as are red table beets.  Yet as indicated, sugarbeet roots grow lower into the ground as compared to table beets.  If one were to get a more palatable, heirloom-type sugarbeet, it may have a role in permies context....for those in climates where it would work....to leave fall-planted sugarbeets in the ground and harvest as needed throughout the winter.  In some climates, going through a cold period will be enough to induce bolting...after which you could eat the new green foliage, but the sugar/calories would rapidly disappear from the root.  However, analysis of the genetic variation in sugarbeet indicates that one, through selective breeding, might develop varieties with delayed bolting, thereby retain the caloric content of the beets still in the ground into late winter.  So it might be a crop that one could essentially "root cellar" right in the ground and harvest when needed....if living in a climate where the ground does not undergo a hard freeze throughout winter.  This would contrast with table beet which is more exposed to the elements and might need to be root cellared as usual, but have a lower caloric content per fresh weight.
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Went to the organic store earlier this day and found (but didn't buy) salvia hispanica seeds, Chenopodium quinoa seeds, and some kind of amaranth (but which one?).
I will buy some for spring.
 
pollinator
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
This is part of the project that I call: "What am I currently buying from the grocery store that I could be growing myself?"


That was my project for this year and I plan to expand on it next spring February. I got started late this year so the millet is ripening now; fine for the chickens but to much mold to store.
I planted black flax but the seed pods that I have opened they seem to be golden.  This is on humus/clay soil that got flooded mid summer when an irrigation line burst.
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amaranth, flax and millet in the background
 
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Has anyone tried this with Jackfruit? I had several from the wholefoods store here and Asian market. Saved the seeds and put them in nice soil. Watered a bit and left on my porch. Had tree's in about 3 weeks. Lemons did the same. Great fruit tree's if you live in a warmer area and have the time for the tree's to grow and mature to fruit. 
 
pollinator
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I do this with broad beans but have bad experience with cilantro, I am now selling and giving away cilantro since I've bought real seeds!
 
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I've been wondering about spice seeds, say, from the Asian Market.  I always like that spices in the regular grocery store might cost $5 an ounce but might be less than $5 a pound at the A.M.  Anyway, also wondering about how well they grow and how well they might grow in my garden conditions.  Like fennel - is this really perennial?  Is it in my climate?  Zone 6 or 7 I think.  How about anise.  Anyway, all those bulk bins at, say, Whole Foods really make the seed packets look silly.  I haven't tried any staples (grains or beans) because I doubt I can grow them as efficiently as a couple bucks a pound - it just seems pretty cheap.  But I'd like to grow a lot of greens or mushrooms or tomatoes and herbs and stuff to go with them.  But back to the seeds - even the mustard seeds at the conventional grocery store would be very cheap compared to seed packets.  Wonder what variety (ies) you'd get?
 
Hans Quistorff
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Bulk amaranth works good. The fresh leaves seem to be more tender than wild Lambsquarter. I am going to try bread seed poppies thes year.
 
gardener
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This winter I have been collecting seeds from the grocery store for planting. I got fenugreek, anise, kinwa, lots of different sesame from different places, cumin, arnica, amaranth, pickling spice, etc. In some cases, I'm getting a pound of seed for the price of a packet. I don't know if any of it will sprout or make seeds here, but the trying is inexpensive. Sesame is a high priority crop for me this year, thus my effort to collect (possibly) different kinds from different suppliers.

I've grown brown, black, and yellow mustard seeds from the grocery store. The yellow thrived for me, the other two didn't.
 
Rez Zircon
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Have you seen the blue-flowered mustard that grows wild? I have some here and oddly it thrives in hard shade, but I never see it growing where it gets more than a little sun. No idea if it's edible or not.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Rez Zircon wrote:Have you seen the blue-flowered mustard that grows wild? I have some here and oddly it thrives in hard shade, but I never see it growing where it gets more than a little sun. No idea if it's edible or not.



I eat the flowers of anything in the brassica family.  Hesperis matronalis grows on my farm. I am unfamiliar with Chorispora tenella.
 
Rez Zircon
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Mine look like Hesperis matronalis, but have only a few flowers per plant rather than big clumps. They don't seem to do anything bad.

I think Chorispora tenella is the sticky nuisance I've been trying to get rid of. Also it seems to discourage other plants.
 
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I have to giggle. Yesterday, I picked through my parrot's seed mix and pulled out their favorite treats. My little green quaker Calle LOVES pumpkin seeds and he will steal them from his big sister (Solomon Island Eclectus) Scarlett. I had some empty containers and stuck some potting soil I was going to toss into the compost pile, along with a shovel full of beautiful ripe compost and stuck in the pumpkins. I also stuck in two different kinds of big sunflower seed, sifted through and picked the different patterned seeds so I assume they come from different varieties, along with the small black oil sunflower seeds. I then sprinkled a few millet seeds into the mix and watered well.

I have a huge brush pile Hugel that I created after reclaiming a wild area left fallow after Hurricane Sandy. Gonna plant the pumpkins on top of this pile, along with some Eastern potato eyes, and see what happens. I would love to be able to supplement their dry food with stuff I grow myself. They get such a wide and varied diet, but I love to give them their treat seeds!


I do love grocery store gardening--growing a celery in my window right now ready to plant once the greens are a bit bigger.

Nice to see others who share my secret passion--getting plants for FREE!!!
 
Rez Zircon
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Last year I got some vine tomatoes at Walmart that were probably the best tomatoes I've ever eaten. Saved some seeds, planted one, and it came up. We'll see what, if anything, it produces.

Also found some ancient tomato seeds in my box-o-seed ... like from 2003. Heatwave Hybrid -- 3 for 3 came up. Some sort of beefsteak -- 2 for 3. And since I've been trying this and that from my stash of old seeds, I'm noticing that ancient Burpee-branded seeds are much more likely to germinate than are other brands.

Spaghetti squash sitting in my garage, locally grown ... 10 months now and still rock-hard. Can't complain about its keeping qualities... definitely gonna save seed from that one!

Odd idea: Onion seeds notoriously don't keep well. Someone pointed out that they're an oily seed. I wonder if the problem is that once all the oil evaporates, the seed dies. Has anyone tried storing them long-term in, say, olive oil?
 
Hans Quistorff
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Odd idea: Onion seeds notoriously don't keep well. Someone pointed out that they're an oily seed. I wonder if the problem is that once all the oil evaporates, the seed dies. Has anyone tried storing them long-term in, say, olive oil?


Interesting question.  Because they are cold tolerant and our winters are mild, I just gather the seed before it is scattered by the wind ore falling over and plant it immediately.
It may be that the seed just hase to be kept very cold. It seems to me that putting it in oil would starve the embryo of oxygen and kill it.
 
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It's not exactly going to grow me any food, but a while ago I was eating dates at the office and found a stone, and being too lazy to walk to the bin with it (we are not allowed bins at our desks to encourage recycling), I shoved it into the compost of the nearest office house plant.  We now have a little date palm growing in the office!
 
Rez Zircon
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Date pits are a good prospect for long-term seed-saving -- this one was over 2000 years old!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judean_date_palm
(Date palms come in male and female, and this one proved to be a male.)

California fan palms come up like weeds (and occasional specimens are cold-hardy down to -10F) and now I'm wondering what the extreme range might be for adapting date palms.

 
Rez Zircon
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Hans Quistorff wrote:

Odd idea: Onion seeds notoriously don't keep well. Someone pointed out that they're an oily seed. I wonder if the problem is that once all the oil evaporates, the seed dies. Has anyone tried storing them long-term in, say, olive oil?


Interesting question.  Because they are cold tolerant and our winters are mild, I just gather the seed before it is scattered by the wind ore falling over and plant it immediately.
It may be that the seed just hase to be kept very cold. It seems to me that putting it in oil would starve the embryo of oxygen and kill it.



This is interesting:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recalcitrant_seed
Looks like metabolic oxidation is actually the problem for some seeds. So immediate cold and oxygen starvation might be a useful preservation trick.

An online book, Tropical Tree Seed Manual:
https://rngr.net/publications/ttsm
Numerous others in the lefthand menu.
 
Rez Zircon
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I planted some very old leek seeds (from 2004) not expecting much. So far, nothing. So I dug up a couple and peeled off the seed coat. Inside, there's a perfectly good embryo growing a root, but evidently unable to penetrate the old hardened seed coat. They're so tiny that I can't be sure I didn't damage them, but ... we'll see. This is the 2nd old tired seed I've peeled and found better results (the other was hollyhocks, now at 80% germination).
 
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A few sprigs of grocery store herbs such as mint will sprout roots quickly when stems are placed in water (remove leaves from the part of the stem that's in water.). We created a huge planting of chocolate mint this way that came back year after year. Be a little careful as mints can be invasive.

GMOs. They aren't labeled where we live, either, but our grocers do usually voluntarily put up signs as to where the produce comes from ... which farm, which region, etc. So we can usually find out it's not GMO. And no, you don't want to plant seeds from grocery store GMO crops. Not only do we want to avoid many GMO traits possibly escaping into the environment by cross pollination, no one is legally allowed to plant GMO seeds unless they've signed a license after purchasing seeds directly.
 
pollinator
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I love this too! My first experience was as a young child: I planted a brown bean and it grew an amazing plant!
When I eat a pumpkin (squash), I can never consider the seeds as 'waste'. I keep some for my own garden and the rest is for 'guerrilla gardening'... Because of this 'hobby' I now have some 'bonsai' avocado trees, lemon trees and unknown varieties of tomatoes growing in my window sil. My lettuce is grown from seeds that I harvested from a plant that grew out of the bottom part of a 'little gem' lettuce. At the moment a leek plant 'made' in the same way is starting to open its flowers ...
 
Rez Zircon
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:When I eat a pumpkin (squash), I can never consider the seeds as 'waste'. I keep some for my own garden and the rest is for 'guerrilla gardening'



You've just given me an idea... my ground here is very fertile but also drains alarmingly well; keeping a garden watered is a constant struggle. But there's a swampy hollow across the road... perhaps around its edges would be a good place to plant melons and other water-hungry crops. Hmmm.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Rez Zircon wrote:there's a swampy hollow across the road... perhaps around its edges would be a good place to plant melons and other water-hungry crops. Hmmm.



Around here, that's the preferred habitat of sunroots.

 
Rez Zircon
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:

Rez Zircon wrote:there's a swampy hollow across the road... perhaps around its edges would be a good place to plant melons and other water-hungry crops. Hmmm.



Around here, that's the preferred habitat of sunroots.



Here it's cattails, chokecherries, wild plums (which are so sweet they're gaggy), and sundry unpleasant weeds. Anything I plant would be progress.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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A new species showed up in my grocery store last night: Hardy Kiwi! There were only a few fruits in the package, and it was super expensive, but I bought it anyway for the seeds. Going back today to see if I can get a second package. If you notice me writing about hardy kiwi, you'll know where the seeds came from.



 
Rez Zircon
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
A new species showed up in my grocery store last night: Hardy Kiwi! There were only a few fruits in the package, and it was super expensive, but I bought it anyway for the seeds. Going back today to see if I can get a second package. If you notice me writing about hardy kiwi, you'll know where the seeds came from.



You mean like these?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actinidia_arguta

Hardy to -30F - good enough for most of us; that's a good find. I'll have to keep a lookout for them. I once planted some regular kiwi seeds and they came up in a tangle like alfalfa sprouts, so germination was good tho they never amounted to anything.

I wonder if they would hybridize with the larger standard kiwifruit? since they're in the same genus. Might be worth a try, and might turn out different depending which parent is the pollinator (regular kiwis come in male and female).
 
gardener
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Oh dang, why didn't I think to keep some hardy kiwi seeds when I bought and ate them in California last year? They were delicious! Like blueberries, I thought. And where I live in Ladakh grapes are not quite hardy enough to thrive and fruit outdoors, though they do in the greenhouse -- but hardy kiwis might be the very thing!
 
Rez Zircon
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Rebecca Norman wrote:Oh dang, why didn't I think to keep some hardy kiwi seeds when I bought and ate them in California last year? They were delicious! Like blueberries, I thought. And where I live in Ladakh grapes are not quite hardy enough to thrive and fruit outdoors, though they do in the greenhouse -- but hardy kiwis might be the very thing!



If they tasted like blueberries they were pushing what I'd call overripe, but depends how you like 'em best. They ripen fast just laying around. If you like them with more of a tang, and less sweet, try 'em when they're just barely ripe and are just starting to soften.

Walmart here in MT has kiwifruit seasonally, and so does Costco, so seeds shouldn't be too hard to come by.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Hardy kiwi berries from my local grocery store...  I scooped the seeds out, and fermented them for a couple days before planting them in a pot of soil.
hardy-kiwi.jpg
[Thumbnail for hardy-kiwi.jpg]
Hardy kiwi berries
hardy-kiwi-seeds.jpg
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Fermenting hardy kiwi seeds.
 
Rez Zircon
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Now I can't find the thread where we were discussing it, but remember that seed-grown tomato I had that NOTHING chewed on, not even starving grasshoppers? Figured out what it was: Burpee "Super Beefsteak" from lot 17 packed for 2004. (And why nothing touched it... the foliage had the nastiest oily coating you'll ever see in a garden plant.) Didn't manage to save it after it got prematurely frosted, but I have more seeds, so...
 
pioneer
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I saved seeds from the cantaloupes that I bought.  I have tons of seeds.

I am getting ready to experiment to see if they will germinate.  If so I will plant some to see what I get.

What else can I do with these seeds?

Will they make nice tasting microgreens or sprouts?

I saved seeds from homegrown squash and watermelon. Will they make nice tasty microgreens or sprouts?
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Anne Miller wrote:I saved seeds from the cantaloupes that I bought.  I have tons of seeds.

I am getting ready to experiment to see if they will germinate.  If so I will plant some to see what I get.

What else can I do with these seeds?

Will they make nice tasting microgreens or sprouts?

I saved seeds from homegrown squash and watermelon. Will they make nice tasty microgreens or sprouts?


Never thought of squash-sprouts! I'll try now.
I saved seeds from squashes / pumpkins, much more than I need.
 
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A spin off of saving seeds from grocery sourced veggies is saving them from the veggies you grew. And then you can preplan this, buy seeds of heirloom varieties.

Last summer/fall I saved seeds from maybe ten varieties of tomatoes, beefsteaks, yellow pear, orange and yellow tomatoes. I saved seeds from Straight Eight cucumbers and Fordhook zucchini and three different pumpkins. A little baby, a big baby and a large Halloween pumpkin that the 4 year old boy next door gave me. I think maybe he wants me to plant him a pumpkin patch. The 2 smaller pumpkins I've grown before. The zucchini seeds were from a too edible sized zucchini, so were too undersized and didn't sprout.

I've found that the seed I saved usually sprouts much better than what you buy in a store or by mail. I've never noticed that the seed I saved developed a new variety of veggie, but then I don't save seeds from veggies I know are a hybrid.
 
pollinator
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F1 hybrids provide lots of gardeners uniform predictable results that they enjoy in their gardent produce.

Sometimes it is great fun to save seed from both known and unknown hybridization events. The F2 children of hybrids are likely to be edible. Its programming by hybrid seed suppliers that makes us think otherwise.

So when you grow out the F2 of a hybrid it gives you variable results. Do you like variety? If so growing variable vegetables might delight you. In this case it might also delight you to try your hand at amateur vegetable breeding and to grow modern and or historic landraces of vegetables.

If you dont enjoy variable results don't save seed from hybrids and if things do get mixed up go back and buy a fresh seed packet. It is as simple as that.

I opt increasingly for a garden that is highly experimental. Hybridization is seen as a good thing.
 
pioneer
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Hybrids are wonderful because they start with genetics that we know are strong and delicious.  The best thing about them is that we can use them to create new varieties that are specifically designed to suit our garden and style. 

Reading Carol Deppe's book on breeding your own vegetables, she mentions that some (perhaps many) plants labelled 'hybrid', aren't.  They just put it there to discourage people from saving the seeds.

I think we have a few threads on this already.  here's one for those interested in breeding your own variety.  Plant breeding is easy.  It's just saving seeds from the plants you love. 
 
So I left, I came home, and I ate some pie. And then I read this tiny ad:
It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
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