Summary Seed to Seed is a complete seed-saving guide that describes specific techniques for saving the seeds of 160 different vegetables. This book contains detailed information about each vegetable, including its botanical classification, flower structure and means of pollination, required population size, isolation distance, techniques for caging or hand-pollination, and also the proper methods for harvesting, drying, cleaning, and storing the seeds.
Seed to Seed is widely acknowledged as the best guide available for home gardeners to learn effective ways to produce and store seeds on a small scale. The author has grown seed crops of every vegetable featured in the book, and has thoroughly researched and tested all of the techniques she recommends for the home garden.
This newly updated and greatly expanded Second Edition includes additional information about how to start each vegetable from seed, which has turned the book into a complete growing guide. Local knowledge about seed starting techniques for each vegetable has been shared by expert gardeners from seven regions of the United States-Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast/Gulf Coast, Midwest, Southwest, Central West Coast, and Northwest.
As in it's a must have for anyone interested in sustainable agriculture or simply saving their own seeds; however, it's not life shatteringly good and/or the author hasn't come to my home to wash dishes.
Seed to Seed is about growing seeds for saving seeds. Nothing less, and very little more. Ashworth focuses on this one topic and does it exceptionally well. Of all the other seed saving books I've come across, this is the one book that I refer to most. It is the one book that I recommend to novice and experienced gardeners, farmers, and seed savers. It is also the gardening book with the longest wait list at my local library. It is that useful.
There are two basic sections to this book. The first covers general knowledge about the sexual behaviour of plants and basic seed saving know how. Things like what is an self-pollinater, why bother with isolation distances, how to keep two interbreeding crops pure when you can't provide sufficient isolation distance, how to process and store seeds, and the different things you need to know when growing a plant for seed vs growing it for food. The second section addresses the major vegetable families, listing a vast multitude of plant varieties, how they breed, what they need to maintain purity, growing conditions, and the occasional picture. Although the plant families are listed by botanical names, the index makes finding the plant info you need a snap.
The only real drawback with this book, is that it focuses on American growing conditions. Each vegetable listing includes a list of regional growing recommendations, a few sentences long for different areas in the USA. Of course, to include every growing region in the world would make this book impossibly long. An experienced gardener can extract the relevant growing information for their own climate, but sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to get it right.
I am continually surprised, every time I have reason to refer to it, at how much unusual plant material this covers and what details it provides about each plant's cultivation. Although there are no regional recommendations for my area, the sheer mass of information it provides makes it essential for me.