the Seed You Save

Prairie Rose

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I save a few different types of seeds, typically dill, zinnia, cosmos, and calendula. Every few years I plant out sunflowers, runner beans, and save a few tomato seeds of varieties I like. I inherited some saved seed for a giant potato-leaf yellow tomato I loved and then lost; I planted every bit of it I had one spring and then a critter happened to the seedlings. I'm still looking for it to buy seeds again...the source doesn't remember what they were called.

There is a variety of half-runner beans I need to save seeds for once I get a good crop going. There is a variety that is very common where my mother grew up, and it's the kind I grew up eating, and I can't find it here in the midwest. Blue lake and Kentucky Wonder just taste wrong to me. I have a couple packets of seeds to try out from a few different sources, and if one of them tastes right that will be what I save.

Back when I still had a traditional row garden with more space and more time, I did a lot more seed saving. I grew up in houses where you could duck into the pantry and find a row of seed jars, neatly labeled. My goal is to eventually be able to do that myself, and not have to buy seeds for my staple vegetable crops every year. I also want to be able to select for plants that do better in my environment; a lot of the family favorites come from a different environment and they don't do well here.

To make a long story short...yes I want to save my seeds, but I'm not quite there yet. Still learning this raised-bed intensive gardening thing first!
 

flowerbug

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I save a few different types of seeds, typically dill, zinnia, cosmos, and calendula. Every few years I plant out sunflowers, runner beans, and save a few tomato seeds of varieties I like. I inherited some saved seed for a giant potato-leaf yellow tomato I loved and then lost; I planted every bit of it I had one spring and then a critter happened to the seedlings. I'm still looking for it to buy seeds again...the source doesn't remember what they were called.

There is a variety of half-runner beans I need to save seeds for once I get a good crop going. There is a variety that is very common where my mother grew up, and it's the kind I grew up eating, and I can't find it here in the midwest. Blue lake and Kentucky Wonder just taste wrong to me. I have a couple packets of seeds to try out from a few different sources, and if one of them tastes right that will be what I save.

Back when I still had a traditional row garden with more space and more time, I did a lot more seed saving. I grew up in houses where you could duck into the pantry and find a row of seed jars, neatly labeled. My goal is to eventually be able to do that myself, and not have to buy seeds for my staple vegetable crops every year. I also want to be able to select for plants that do better in my environment; a lot of the family favorites come from a different environment and they don't do well here.

To make a long story short...yes I want to save my seeds, but I'm not quite there yet. Still learning this raised-bed intensive gardening thing first!

post a description of it to this thread and you'll have a good chance of someone knowing what it might be. worth a shot. :) and yes, i'm curious as to what it might be... :)

https://www.theeasygarden.com/threa...e-and-reawaken-the-thrill-of-discovery.22726/
 

digitS'

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@Prairie Rose , I have grown Kellogg's Breakfast KBX. It's a potato leaf variety. Very Nice flavor but it's pushing things a little for here. The fairly short season combined with so many cool nights keeps me from growing many heirlooms.

Dr. Wyche's Yellow is one I especially liked (not potato leaf).

There were a few other big yellows like Azoychka and Orange Minsk but I had better stick with Lemon Boy hybrid just to get them comfortably into ripeness each year. All have regular leaves.

Good Luck looking for those varieties. It will be a worthwhile experience.
Steve
 

Zeedman

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The topic of seed longevity came up on another thread; so rather than derail the conversation (which I perhaps do too often :rolleyes:) I thought I would transplant it here;

@heirloomgal : The only real germination trouble I've had (from bought packets) was culantro and last years soybeans. I have a feeling soybeans are the seed stickler of them all. Maybe it's the fat in them. Parsely has a bad reputation but it has done pretty well for me. Maybe onions is another that has a short life, though i don't plant those from seed anymore so I don't know.
Since I began seed saving, the only things I've lost in storage were soybeans and peppers. Based upon my germination tests this year, of soybeans in sealed containers at room temperature, soybean germination dropped off rapidly after 5 years... from 80-90%, to 50% or less. A few small seeded, semi-wild varieties (*) dropped off even faster. At 7+ years, most soybeans were dead, or nearly so.
2017:
Cha Kura Kake - ~100%
Gion - 90%
Rouest 13 A1 2 - 80%
* Selection No. 503 - below 5%
Seneca - 85%
Zelena Echo 3 - 80%
2016:
Bei 77-6177 - below 5%
Grignon 18 - 30%
Hatsutaka - 10%, and weak
Karikachi 3 - 55%
Kharkovskaya Zernokormobaya (Ukraine) - 10%. and weak
Manitoba Brown - 10%
PI 194626 - 30%
PI 437524 - over 90%
PI 522192 A - 30%
* Selection No. 505 - less than 5%
Sioux - 30%
Soja Brun Harif U486 - 50%
Tai Xing Hei Dou - 40%
Yi Tong Lu Da Dou - 55%
Zolta z Zolna - 50%
2015:
Aan Tu Bai Hua Lu Da Dou - 30%
SY 9514014 - 30%
Wielnska Brunatna - 40%
Sapporo Midori - under 5%, nearly dead
2013:
St. Ita - under 5%, nearly dead
2012:
Pando - dead

Peppers can be more complicated, since they are harvested wet; somewhat dependent upon the method of processing; and seed maturity is sometimes questionable, depending upon the ripeness of the pepper. Pepper seed viability often drops off sharply at 5 years or less. I was pleasantly surprised this year that most 2016 & 2017 seed had at least 50% germination. Some 2014 & 2015 seed had roughly 10% and 25% germination, respectively. The only variety that appears to be dead (Thai Mound) was from 2012... and since SSE maintains that variety, I won't waste time trying to revive it.

I just threw down 50-100 pepper seeds for testing (without counting) to get a rough idea of which varieties will require more attention... I will post final germination rates for peppers after transplants are started.
 

heirloomgal

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The topic of seed longevity came up on another thread; so rather than derail the conversation (which I perhaps do too often :rolleyes:) I thought I would transplant it here;


Since I began seed saving, the only things I've lost in storage were soybeans and peppers. Based upon my germination tests this year, of soybeans in sealed containers at room temperature, soybean germination dropped off rapidly after 5 years... from 80-90%, to 50% or less. A few small seeded, semi-wild varieties (*) dropped off even faster. At 7+ years, most soybeans were dead, or nearly so.
2017:
Cha Kura Kake - ~100%
Gion - 90%
Rouest 13 A1 2 - 80%
* Selection No. 503 - below 5%
Seneca - 85%
Zelena Echo 3 - 80%
2016:
Bei 77-6177 - below 5%
Grignon 18 - 30%
Hatsutaka - 10%, and weak
Karikachi 3 - 55%
Kharkovskaya Zernokormobaya (Ukraine) - 10%. and weak
Manitoba Brown - 10%
PI 194626 - 30%
PI 437524 - over 90%
PI 522192 A - 30%
* Selection No. 505 - less than 5%
Sioux - 30%
Soja Brun Harif U486 - 50%
Tai Xing Hei Dou - 40%
Yi Tong Lu Da Dou - 55%
Zolta z Zolna - 50%
2015:
Aan Tu Bai Hua Lu Da Dou - 30%
SY 9514014 - 30%
Wielnska Brunatna - 40%
Sapporo Midori - under 5%, nearly dead
2013:
St. Ita - under 5%, nearly dead
2012:
Pando - dead

Peppers can be more complicated, since they are harvested wet; somewhat dependent upon the method of processing; and seed maturity is sometimes questionable, depending upon the ripeness of the pepper. Pepper seed viability often drops off sharply at 5 years or less. I was pleasantly surprised this year that most 2016 & 2017 seed had at least 50% germination. Some 2014 & 2015 seed had roughly 10% and 25% germination, respectively. The only variety that appears to be dead (Thai Mound) was from 2012... and since SSE maintains that variety, I won't waste time trying to revive it.

I just threw down 50-100 pepper seeds for testing (without counting) to get a rough idea of which varieties will require more attention... I will post final germination rates for peppers after transplants are started.
While I quite like growing soybeans, this truly gives me pause as a collector. All I can think of is the first dried beans I ever grew and kept, probably dating to 2015, 2016, and how well they still germinate for me. You must find there to be a really significant difference between your P. vulgaris beans and soybeans (in terms of germination)? I do wonder if the fat content in the soybeans makes them more prone to expiration?

What seeds do you find hold their viability the longest @Zeedman ? Tomatoes and beans would at the top of my list.

Aan Tu Lu Da Dou - wow, what a name!
 

flowerbug

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it sounds like you would really need a freezer to keep them longer. so far my biggest trouble with soybeans and especially the edamame types is keeping the chipmunks and groundhogs from eating them as they sprout.
 

Zeedman

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it sounds like you would really need a freezer to keep them longer.
I've wanted to freeze seed for a long time; but my freezer space was taken up by food, and I don't have enough electric circuits to add another freezer. That has changed somewhat, now that DW & I decided (with some help from the pandemic) that it was time for DW to scale back on her big weekly family dinners. That has freed up quite a bit of freezer space. Previously I only froze rare seed, or breeding projects... but last year, I began freezing backup seed, beginning with samples from the 2021 grow out. I am also freezing any new seed (whether purchased or exchanged) that will not be grown this year. Hopefully this will prevent any future losses due to seed age.

It is still on my agenda to add another freezer to be used for working seed stocks, much as @Bluejay77 does. That would take a lot of strain off of my seed grow outs. Hopefully I can get a circuit added to support that this year, if the task doesn't turn out to be cost prohibitive. :fl I suspect I will need to upgrade my line service, from its current 100A.
 

flowerbug

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you may not need another circuit for a dedicated freezer if it were a newer one. they've changed things quite a bit the past 10-20 years. when we replaced our fridge some years ago the power company gave us a rebate on top of this newer one drawing a lot less power but it also runs a bit more often, however it is so quiet we don't even notice it. the setting inside the fridge we run at the first notch up from OFF most of the time and in the summer we have to bump it up one from there. there's eight other bumps we never use. we do keep the freezer pretty full most of the time but i'm pretty sure it isn't the best for seed saving because it has a defrost cycle built into it. once in a while we hear it crinkling when it does that.
 
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