Seed Saving for a Future Garden
As I get ready to cut back the spent plants of summer, I always make sure to do so at the peak time that the plants are drying their seeds. Before I cut a single stalk, I love to gather those powerhouses of potential and put them away for springtime gardening, knowing that I don’t have to buy a thing. Over winter, I start myself a little composting bucket in the basement to put my scraps. It creates a rich soil for my transplanting and gardening (what little I can do). And the seeds are tucked away in safety while I use the winter to dream and journal what type of garden I shall create.
Seed saving just might be something you could find useful too. As a gardener, you want to cut costs wherever you can. The best way to do that is by committing to saving seeds of plants you know you’ll want next year. Just four plants you save seeds from, that means four you don’t have to buy next year. And seeds are getting pretty pricey, not to mention how expensive plants are. Saving seeds is a satisfying endeavor too. There is something very satisfying knowing that you grew these plants and didn’t have to rely on an outsider to make your garden lush and plentiful.
There are some tips and tricks to seed saving though. First and foremost, only save seed from open-pollinated varieties, or in other words, the heritage or old-fashioned varieties of plants. Hybrids will not grow true to type. And save only the seeds from your best plants. Then gather one type of seed at a time. Spread them on newspaper to dry about a week, making sure you write what type seed it is. Clean away the dried bits and keep only the seed. For sticky seeds like those from a tomato, spread the seed out on a paper towel and let dry. Roll up the dried towel and store away. Come spring when you want to start your seedlings, you can tear off a seed or two to plant right along with the paper towel.
The best way to store them is in small envelopes or handmade paper containers, then store the envelopes in a glass mason jar somewhere cool and dark. It is easier to handle the seed that way and it keeps the seed away from moisture.
That’s all there is to it. Now you just need to dream about your future garden. Will you have hanging pots and lush herbs? What greens do you want to try next year? Is a tea garden in your future? Thoughts like these, rattle around in my head as the cold, snowy winds blow. And it keeps me sane through the cold winter months. My final tip? You must start a yearly garden journal. Plan your garden all winter. Come summer write down the results of what worked and what didn’t. You’ll know to stay away from a certain variety of melon, or that a particular variety of Basil doesn’t work for you. On the flip side, you will find a plant that you absolutely can't do without, and you'll want to save seeds for a future garden.