Community Philosphy Blog and Library

Posts Tagged ‘seed saving’

DIY Week – Seedsaving

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

This week, we’re looking back to some of the favorite how-tos and projects that we bookmarked, but never shared. In other words, we’re on vacation!

International Seed Saving Institute has posted seed saving instructions for 27 common vegetables. As you know, control over seeds is a huge concern. Seedsaving is a simple and rewarding activity, and can result in fun seed-swapping parties in the fall and winter!

DIY – Harvesting and saving vegetable seeds

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

I see cukes in my future
OK, some may think it’s a bit premature to be thinking about planting seeds already, but we want all of this gorgeous HOMEGROWN food to keep coming back to our tables! The tomato seeds that I saved from last summer are now all grown up and begetting their own offspring – what a thrill it is, this magical, patient cycle of life!

I’ve gathered up a few basics about harvesting seed from vegetables, and the sites linked at the bottom can provide more detailed and veggie-specific information. To start, one should know the following:

  • it is important to save seeds from open-pollinated plants (also called “heirloom”). These varieties, much like our beloved mothers, are confident in the knowledge of who they are and where they came from, so there is no risk of growing a mysterious, mutant veggie. Using seeds from hybrid breeds can result in weird cross-bred or reverted offspring, so take care to know the difference.
  • determine whether your plants are self-pollinating, bee/insect pollinated, or if they should be hand pollinated (a promiscuous paintbrush as your tool). Tomatoes produce perfect, self-pollinating flowers, and are therefore very easy to grow. Really serious growers isolate plants and hand-pollinate for “true” seed. The ISSI web site is rich with details about most common vegetables and fruits.
  • There are “wet” seeds (tomato, watermelon) and “dry” seeds (lettuce, beans), each requiring their own methods of harvest and storage.
  • The universally recommended text for seed saving seems to be: Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth, available through Seed Savers Exchange
  • Seed saving is fun, cheap and addictive. You may end up with more seeds than you can plant, so spread the love and give them as gifts!


International Seed Saving Institute (ISSI)

Pollination information by crop

Seed Savers Exchange

Retro 70s “I see cukes in my future” photo courtesy of
David Saddler-the bridge, Flickr Creative Commons