Amaranth, Golden Giant
Beans, 3 types:
- Black turtle
- Kentucky Wonder
- State 1/2 Runner
|Black Turtle Beans|
Calendula (aka Pot Marigold)
Cantaloupe, Hale's Best
Corn, Stowell's Evergreen
- traditional white & lavender
Lettuce, Parris Island Cos Romaine
|Parris Island Cos Lettuce|
Okra, Clemson Spineless
|Clemson Spineless Okra|
- Serrano - saved from boughten peppers
- sweet, Chinese Giant
Pumpkin, Small Sugar
Radish, Cherry Belle
Sunflower, Mammoth Grey Stripe
Turnips, White Globe Purple Top
Watermelon, Sugar Baby
In addition, there are some things that have yet to go to seed: Detroit beets, radishes (Pink Beauty & China Rose), and Watham 29 broccoli in the fall garden, plus the Fordhook Swiss chard I planted in the spring. The rutabagas and parsnips I planted aren't up yet, so we'll have to see about those. Some of these are biennials, so I'll have to wait until their second year to get seed. And hopefully, I'll manage to collect from seed from the sweet basil seed heads I gathered. I didn't bother with seeds from the other herbs because they are perennials.
On top of that, I still have seed I didn't plant this year, which hopefully will still be viable when I plant them next year:
Cabbage, Late Dutch Flat - need to start the seed in January
Chard, Ruby Red
Corn,(field) Truckers Favorite - for feed and cornmeal
Cowpeas, Ozark Razorback - for another feed experiment
Garden Huckleberry, Solanum melanocerasum
Garden Peas, Wando
Ground Cherry (husk tomato)
Mangels - for feed, may still get these in.
Salsa value pack from hometownseeds.com. Contains about a gram each of: anaheim chili peppers, cilantro, jalapeno, onion (sweet spanish), sweet pepper, tomatillo
Tomatoes, Rugters (though I still may get some from these)
Mine is a modest list, but one I'm pleased with. Last year I saved only 8 types of seeds, so this is a huge expansion for me, 26.
My goal, like many other gardeners, is to save all my own seed. This has largely to do with our personal goals of becoming as self-supporting as possible. Also, I confess that I'm concerned about the integrity of our seed supply especially in light of mounting evidence concerning the dangers of GMOs, and the FDA's refusal to acknowledge them. Besides the problem of cross-contaminated seed, the USDA now wants to allow GM seed under the legal definition of "organic." I don't know about you, but this bothers me. (If you're still uncertain about the safety and legitimacy of GMOs, read The Institute for Responsible Technology's GMO Dangers and The Council for Responsible Genetics FAQs. Also, if you listen to a lot of Public Radio, you've probably heard opponents of GMOs referred to as "denialists." Please be aware that Monsanto is a supporter of public radio, so a certain amount of GMO loyalty is to be expected. Read this, for more information.)
I don't know if that last paragraph qualifies as a bona-fide soapbox (of which I don't mount many on this blog), but, these are my concerns and a strong motivator for me in regards to having a self-sustaining homestead.
In terms of reaching my goal, I figure it will be several years before I can fulfill it, as I'm still experimenting with vegetable varieties and adding new crops. One thing I'm realizing about sustainable gardening, is that seed saving means more that a simple gather and plant cycle. It also means preparing for failures, either crop or seed. For example, this year I barely managed to harvest enough tomatoes for the amount of pasta sauce I needed, because I had disease problems. At first, I wasn't sure I wanted to save those seeds. When my plants made a comeback, I planned to save some of that seed, but only managed the Romas. To prepare for a recurrence of something like this in the future, I need to be saving more than a year's worth of each kind of seed. I need my own personal seed bank, if you will.
There are a lot of books written on the subject of seed saving, and I do have a gist of the basics, which include storage conditions and seed viability. For me, it will also mean good organization. I store my saved seeds in recycled envelopes, placed in alphabetical order in an old shoe box. Seed of larger quantity (corn and beans) are kept in recycled jars).
I store that box in the refrigerator during the heat of summer.
Last year I wrote the type and variety of seed, year gathered, and planting dates on each envelope. This year I will add an expiration date based on that particular seeds viability.
Unfortunately, seed viability isn't an exact science, and depends on a number of factors. That's why there is so much variance in the viability charts. Keeping the seeds dry and cool is the most important factor. This is one I doubt I've fulfilled very well, considering that we didn't have AC last summer with it's soaring temps and humidity. When in doubt, I can test viability before planting.
Lastly, some links to viability charts. As mentioned, you will notice they aren't the same. But at least they give us a gist of what to expect in our seed saving under ideal storage techniques.
Hill Gardens of Maine
Iowa State University Extension Service
Growing Taste - 2 charts, one by years, one by vegetable
Virginia Cooperative Extension
Do you save your own seeds?
2010 Seeds Saved & Seed Saving Goals © November 2010 by Leigh at http://my5acredream.blogspot.com/