From faithful commentor Satby:
I used to assume, like most people probably do, that you save the seeds from your plants on a paper towel or coffee filter, put them in a baggie when they’re dry, and that’s all there was to it. But the few times I’d done that with my heirloom tomatoes, I didn’t always get the exact same tomatoes growing the next year, if they grew at all. Nice tomatoes, but not the same. Turns out the potato leaf heirlooms, like the Brandywines, can cross pollinate and make new variations.
And, for best germination, you should ferment the seeds of tomatoes to inhibit disease and improve sprouting. And not save them on paper, but on a glass dish so they don’t stick or get damp and moldy. I was doing it wrong for years.
My favorite resource for all seed saving wisdom is this site, which has a wealth of knowledge for veggie seed saving by variety: Howtosaveseeds.
I’m more of a flower seed saver right now, it’s so much cheaper to propogate flowers by seed than to by the approximately 10 flats of annuals I used to. I have a cottage garden with hollyhocks [photo at top] that were all scavenged seeds from roadside hollyhocks, I save the seeds and reseed in new spots every year, the old spots also reseed themselves. Those are easy, pull the head, dry the seeds on a plate, bag them in a small paper envelope.
The second picture is of a petunia seed pod, my orange petunias did so well I want to try to grow them again. Not sure if they are hybrids and whether the seed will be sterile, but I’m harvesting pods to try.
The last picture just shows the comparison between the petunia seeds, which are the little black specs on the dish, compared to a round morning glory seed and a couple of hollyhock seeds (the flat ones). Super tiny! Hope they end up growing.
The mini-bell-pepper I bought as an experiment this year just sent out a new flush of bloom, although I’m pretty sure they won’t get the chance to fruit. And the sour gherkin cucumber plant is still lush, but all the wee little ‘mouse melons’ dropped off at once during our first not-yet-freezing snap. But I’ve still got a handful of tomato plants — Carmello, Japanes Black Trifele, Ranger, some of the cherry tomatoes — with ripening fruit.
What’s going on in your gardens this week?
The boss likes to save her poppy seeds and give them away to friends.
best part of seed saving is trying to create your own cultivars. who knows, you could discover the next mortgage lifter. ‘course, mortgages are higher than they used to be. see, i wore an heirloom onion on my belt, which was the style at the time…
Anne’s probably sleeping and the link isn’t working… I have to get off my Kindle and onto my laptop to link it it comments…. stay tuned.
Linky no worky
@satby: Thank you…
What a good idea but unfortunately, the link doesn’t work.
I dug up my sweet potatoes Friday and they are now drying in the shed. There are several small ones, that I’ll use for soup but most will be baked. yum
I have decided that we are close enough to winter to stop pulling weeds.
Satby, Is this it..
The official garden is done, maybe a cucumber or two if they can get bigger fast. The unofficial, chipmunk poop tomatoes are still putting out tons of fruit in the shittiest soil I have on the farm. Amazing. I never water them and they still come up with over a dozen cherry tomatoes a day. I may hire the little fuckers to do the big garden next year.
@JPL: Yes, thanks JPL! My Kindle doesn’t copy and paste for shot, or its owner hasn’t learned how. But that’s the link I sent Anne Laurie and it’s a fantastic resource. How to propagate by specific vegetable.
And this is the week I officially give up on my tomatoes and pull out what’s left of the vines. It was an almost total waste of time this year, I maybe got 6 edible tomatoes off of 8 plants. Blight set in early thanks to the cool wet summer. Still letting the sweet potatoes grow until we get the first frost, and I may pull and store the rest of the onions too.
Totally OT, non-garden tangent:
When I was a kid the baseball term “walk-off” hadn’t been invented yet.
Now almost every victory scored in the bottom of the ninth (or bottom of extra innings) is called that.
Attention ESPN: When a runner beats out a would-be DP throw to first by 1/4 step, allowing the man heading home to score, that’s not a walk-off. When a throw to cut down winning run at home is maybe one second late and twenty feet off line, and the runner has to slide across the plate, that’s not a walk-off.
(See: Seattle’s win last night. NYY’s win at Jeter’s big send-off.)
/where’s the lexicon when I need it
@Baud: I decided that back in May.
@satby: Thanx, this is what I want.
We are relatively indifferent gardeners, but we love our fresh produce. This year, we noticed volunteer potato vines growing in our compost bins. We’ve got one large homemade compost bin, divided in half, which is where all the veggie table scraps, lawn clippings, windfall apples, and whatever else we throw in (no meat or meat products ever) go.
So a couple weeks ago, my wife decided to see what was underneath the potato vines, and lo and behold! She dug up 14.5 pounds of reds and whites that grew from the potato peelings she took out to the compost pile. She discovered she’d put white peelings on one side, and red peelings on the other, which was quite nice.
Since we’re basically lazy, we don’t turn the pile like we probably ought, thus the well-fed volunteers. And so we’re eating boiled, parsley buttered, baked, and fried spuds, not to mention German and American potato salad. This is a first for us, although we’ve frequently enjoyed volunteer pumpkins, squash, and cherry tomatoes in the past.
Saving seeds…it’s a logical next step, but not one I’ve taken beyond scarlet runner beans.
Garden tangent: do any of you have any good watering systems (drip) for raised beds? I’ve tried two now (one from Johnny’s and one from Gardeners Supply), and neither work adequately. I don’t want to have to lay out a new system every other year–that’s getting OLD. (I’m not, of course.)
@satby: Same here, except for the cherry/grape types (planted in among the asparagus–they were AMAZINGLY prolific) and one Jersey Devil that produced the best Romas ever (lots of rich juicy flesh), and I ordered it only because it was all that was left when I realized I really wasn’t going to get any seeds started in time this year.
My chard is finally looking happy, though, and I’m being overrun by parsley. Also late-planted red onions are doing well, and turtle beans should be ready to pick in a day or so, and I’ve picked my first melons ever–3 Sarah’s Choice (Johnnys Seeds) and 1 Charentais (Seeds from Italy). All incredibly sweet.
The groundhog got all the pumpkins and winter squash–too bad.
we slice tomatoes and dry the slices / in spring plant the whole slice / every seed germinates !
I got some interesting results planting squash seeds that had cross-pollinated – some were really good, especially, the half green, half yellow one. We’ve had two frosts now and I just have the root crops out there, which will go in the root cellar, and the cabbage, kale, chard, lettuce and cilantro. The last few days have been like summer again and now I’m waiting for it to turn cold so the yellow jackets in my compost bin will die, die die.
@Katherine: Huh, I would never have thought of that.
My problem has always been getting the seeds to germinate reasonably well. The seed starter kit I bought last year worked best of all the ones I’ve tried over the years, with the additional action of keeping the lights mere inches off of the dome until the seeds thickened up (keeps them from stretching to the light and warms from the top as well as the heat mat underneath. Made a huge difference.
@RAM: lucky the rodents didn’t get them, but aren’t homegrown potatoes amazingly good?
@raven: I do that with my seeds saved, as well as my daffodils when I divide them, as I try to do every 4 or 5 years or so. I’m the kind of gardener who likes to plant and enjoy the result, but doesn’t like to fuss over it all in the heat of summer. Hence the bulbs and cottage garden, both very forgiving of my tendancy to forget what I was doing and wander off to do something else.
We’re still eating the second flush of cantaloupe from this year’s try-and-see-if-we-like-them variety that did extremely well with our growing conditions this year – extra warm and very dry. We stripped the tomato plants last Monday in anticipation of our first good rainstorm of the season and gave most of them to our local food bank as I didn’t have time to process any of them and most were slicing tomatoes anyway. We still have a bumper crop of carrots and the cucumber plants have gotten a second wind too so we have lots of those coming on. My three little sweet pepper plants are loaded with fruit and the fall crop of sugar pod peas are blooming so we’ll have those to munch on in a week or so.
My only concern is that our wet weather pattern didn’t take hold (south Willamette Valley, Oregon) and we got just a bit over an inch of rain last week, not nearly enough to mitigate our extremely dry conditions. And now the extended forecast is for a bit of rain on Tuesday and a return to dry and warm days by next weekend. We need rain.
dance around in your bones
Ooooh! I’ll be her friend!!!! (Oh wait…..maybe the wrong type of poppies…)
What’s going on in my garden this week? Jack shit. I used to grow salad stuff in Earth boxes and then had numerous self-seeded volunteers….but dang, the critters would munch on anything we planted. And I fucking HATE tomato worms.
Gardening is like two parts love and hate.
;-) yes! Let’s reframe it though–I’d suggest it’s probably less that you forget what you’re doing and more that all the other things clamouring for attention lead you from one thing to another. I would never notice just how many things need to be done if I didn’t start one thing first.
@dance around in your bones: Completely OT: I remember seeing a comment from you maybe a long time ago about how you felt when your little granddaughter ran up to you (on the beach?) and hugged you. (I think it was you. I hope it was. If I’m wrong, just ignore this.)
I noticed that comment at the time and think of it often. I wasn’t ready to be a grandparent (wasn’t ready to be a mother in law either), but honest to goodness, I swoon when my blueberry-eyed, red-haired 2 yr old granddaughter hugs me.
So thank you.
dance around in your bones
I have 3 grandboys and they both frustrate me and entertain me and make my heart ache with love…..we live on the beach and they are all lil groms as they say (lil surfers) and skaters and acrobatic(ers) and often pains in the ass. Right now they are out on the trampoline in the backyard and no doubt a fight will break out soon.
I am glad you remembered a comment from me from so long ago – isn’t this blog amazing? FSM bless John Cole and his communing of the like-minded…at least after he regained his true mind and soul. It was always there, he just didn’t recognize it. (I wasn’t around for the Republican years,, but I have read the archives).
My dad used to save them in baby food jars.