Friday, February 4, 2022

Small Scale Seed Drying Methods, Heirloom Seeds, Heirloom Seeds For Sale, Rare Seeds, Seed Saver, How To Save Vegetable Seed.

 


When I was setting up a local seed bank in my community called ‘Sussex Community Seed Bank’ in the UK.  I had the good fortune of working with and receiving guidance from the Millennium Seed Bank situated in the UK.

 

The Millennium Seed Bank has a collection of over 2.4 billion seeds from around the world, banking them to conserve them for the future.

 

One thing amongst many that I learnt from working with the Millennium Seed Bank is the importance of drying down your seed you wish to keep sufficiently to help maintain longevity of the seed.

 

Here is a link to Sussex Community Seed Bank’s website - http://www.sussexcommunityseedbank.com/  If you go to the section called ‘Seed Cleaning & Drying’.  It opens to a number of pdf files courtesy of the Millennium Seed Bank.  If you open the file called ‘small scale seed drying methods’.  There you will find information on drying down your seed sufficiently on a small scale.

 

I would suggest for those of you wishing to save your own vegetable seed on a small-scale ie for yourselves.  The second part of the information sheet ‘Using silica gel to dry seeds’.  Also, ‘Using charcoal to dry seeds’ should be sufficient for you.

 

I hope you find this information useful.

- Heirloom seeds can be purchased in the USA from ‘Seeds Now’ which sells GMO free, organic, raw and untreated seed along with regional growing recommendations .




Friday, January 28, 2022

How To Save Your Own Carrot Seed, Heirloom Seeds, Heirloom Seeds For Sale, Rare Seeds, Seed Saver, How To Save Vegetable Seed,


 

Carrots are native in many regions including parts of Europe. northern Africa, Afghanistan and central Asia.

Carrots are insect pollinated and different varieties can easily cross.  They also cross easily with Queen Anne's Lace, the wild carrot.  Luckily, crosses with the wild type are easy to spot because the thin, white root is dominant.  But if you do not isolate your carrots physically you should still ensure there is no Queen Anne's Lace nearby.  If you are keeping more than one variety you can isolate those varieties you wish to save seed from under teepees made of fleece on a support of bamboos.  To pollinate the flowers you can use blowfly pupae (bought from a fishing tackle shop) which are put under the teepee.  When they emerge the flies pollinate the flowers.

As they are biennials, they usually take two growing seasons to flower.  In the second spring, a seed stalk starts to emerge from the centre of the leaves and soon the first umbel unfolds.  Lift your crop in the autumn and store in a cellar.  Select the finest carrots, smooth, well-coloured, and with a flat top.  If you want to maintain a carrot variety effectively, you really need to save seed from at least 40 good roots to maintain a good genetic diversity.  If you have too small a genetic pool, you will end up with small, poor quality roots in a very few generations.  

Cut off most of the green tops and store in sand.  Replant after all danger of frost has passed.  Otherwise, leave the best plants in the ground over winter, protected with a thick mulch.  

The flowers are white.  They are borne at the end of several stalks with numerous branches and successively appear in flat clusters which are about 4 inches (10cm) wide.  Carrots grow into big plants waist high or taller.  So they will need staking to support from the wind.  

If left for too long in the garden, the seeds may fall off as the umbels begin to dry.  In wet weather at harvest time, cut the branches, and dry indoors.  The primary and secondary umbels give the best seeds and if you have enough plants, save the seeds from only these ones.

In a good year, one plant can yield 120 grams (4 ounces) of seeds, and as little as fifteen grams in a bad year.  When the seed heads are completely dry, rub them between your hands or over an appropriate screen mesh.  Then use a smaller screen to remove the fine chaff.  Winnow with care as the seeds are light and could blow away.

Home-saved carrot seeds have a beard on their seed coat, unlike commercial seeds which have been mechanically rubbed.  This beard is reputed to enable carrot seeds to work their way into the ground.

Carrot seeds can last up to three years if kept in a cool, dark and dry environment.  Suitable packaging for the seed is mylar bags which one can seal using a woman's hair tongs or a clothing iron.  For containers, kilner jars are suitable as they have a good sealing lid capacity.  For longer term storage,  place the seed in freezers at -20C.  

Heirloom seeds can be purchased in the USA from ‘Seeds Now’ which sells GMO free, organic, raw and untreated seed along with regional growing recommendations . 



Sunday, January 23, 2022

How To Save Your Own Brussels Sprouts Seed, Heirloom Seeds, Heirloom Seeds For Sale, Rare Seeds, Seed Saver, How To Save Vegetable Seed,


Brussels Sprouts developed from kale, the ancestor of the cabbage in western Europe.  The crop is relatively new, having been developed over the last 200 years in Belgium. 

Best grown in a cool temperature climate where the frosts make the little heads tight.

Brussels Sprouts will cross with any of the Brassicaceae Oleracea flowering nearby.  They are biennial and insect pollinated.  As they are self-compatible you will need to leave  more than one plant for seed (preferably at least six plants).  They flower in the second year.  For the kitchen, take only the bottom sprouts at the beginning of the season and the top ones at the end.  This leaves the middle ones standing, the best for seed.

The top leaves of the plant are generally cut off to force the side sprouts to develop branches of flowers.  The pods, containing small spherical seeds will form, and the seed stalk should be cut when the older pods turn yellow, but before they are dry.  leave to dry out on the canvas, then winnow and dry the seeds further before storage.

There are about 270 seeds to the gram and they will last for four to five years.  Suitable packaging is mylar bags which one can seal using a woman's hair tongs or a clothing iron.  For containers, kilner jars are suitable as they have a good sealing lid capacity.  Longer term storage can be achieved by placing the seed in freezers at -20C. 

Heirloom seeds can be purchased in the USA from ‘Seeds Now’ which sells GMO free, organic, raw and untreated seed along with regional growing recommendations

 

 

Sunday, December 19, 2021

How To Save Your Own Borage Seed, Heirloom Seeds, Heirloom Seeds For Sale, Rare Seeds, Seed Saver, How To Save Vegetable Seed.

 



Borage is a native of the eastern Mediterranean.  it is an annual with rough wide leaves and clusters of star-shaped blue blossoms hanging from hairy stems.

To obtain a heavy flowering do not overfeed, or the plant will produce mostly leaves.  The luminous blue flowers are almost constantly in bloom and attract bees.  The seed capsule,  containing one or two rounded seeds, with an apex, should be picked one by one when dry.  they need only a little more drying to be stored.

Borage seeds throw true-to-type.  strict selection is not needed to maintain the quality of seed in a strain.

The seeds will last over five years and there are on average 65 seeds to the gram.  Suitable storage of seeds can be using mylar bags which will need sealing.  A woman's hair tongs or clothing iron is suitable for this purpose.  Also, kilner glass jars are very suitable as they have a good sealing lid capacity.  Longer term storage can be achieved by placing the seed in freezers set at -20C.

- Heirloom seeds can be purchased in the USA from ‘Seeds Now’ which sells GMO free, organic, raw and untreated seed along with regional growing recommendations.




Friday, December 3, 2021

How To Save Beetroot Seed, Heirloom Seeds, Heirloom Seeds For Sale, Rare Seeds, Seed Saver, How To Save Vegetable Seed,

 



Beetroot is a biennial which means it will flower and set to seed in the second year.  It is not very hardy in prolonged harsh winters but will take some below zero temperatures.  It is sown in winter in warm climates and mid-late summer in cool climates.

In saving the seed, the roots attain full size during their first year of growth and in the second year send up a tall, ribbed stalk.  The plant then dies off. This is typical of a biennial.

In cold climates the roots are lifted at the beginning of winter, stored in moist sand, then selected for replanting the following spring according to their trueness to type, appropriate size and uniform color. They will go to seed in the summer. To preserve the diversity of the strain, a good dozen (or at the very least six) plants should flower together.

To encourage larger seedballs on the lower parts of the branches, the top and side branches should be tipped.  Seeds can be picked individually as they ripen, or the whole stalk can be cut down and hung to dry further.  Strip the branches by hand into a bin or an equally wide container.

Each seedball contains from two to six individual seeds.  As they are hard to separate, you will end up with small groups of seedlings wherever you plant a seedball which will result in you needing to thin them.

Beetroot is pollinated by insects and wind.  The pollen is very fine and can fly long distances. 

Seeds can keep for four to six years. 

Suitable packaging for storage is mylar bags which can be sealed using a woman’s hair tongs or a clothing iron.  Kilner glass jars are good storage containers as they have a good sealing lid capacity.

- Heirloom seeds can be purchased in the USA from ‘Seeds Now’ which sells GMO free, organic, raw and untreated seed along with regional growing recommendations.  




Friday, November 26, 2021

How To Save Basil Seed, Heirloom Seeds For Sale, Rare Seeds, Seed Saver, How To Save Vegetable Seed,

 



There are several species of basil, all of them native to either Africa or Asia.  There are both perennial and annual basils, and their shape and size range from almost prostrate, to a bush one meter (3ft 3inches) high.

Basil is predominantly a summer plant, and in our climate must be considered as an annual for summer cropping.

Basil flowers are colored white through to purple.  They have an abundant and pungent nectar, and rely on insect pollination; so, one basil will cross pollinate with other varieties.  If you wish to keep more than one variety you will need to separate them by as much as 50 meters ( 164 feet).  So, if you are limited by space, it is best to grow one variety to obtain pure seed from.

The seeds mature from the bottom to the top of the flower, and capsules generally contain four seeds.  Either cut the stalks or rub your hand up them when the top seed capsules turn brown and brittle.

Dry on a sheet of paper or in a paper bag.  Rub well when the seed capsules are crisp and dry, either in between the hands or on a small-gauged wire mesh to dislodge the four seeds contained in each capsule.

Place the crushed mixture in a large bowl and carefully whirl the lot until the seeds gather at the bottom of the bowl and the chaff gathers on top.  Pick out the bulky chaff with your fingers; the rest can be gently blown over.  A very small- gauged sieve will let the dust fall through and retain the seed.

The seeds will last up to five years sealed away in a dark, dry, cool place.  Suitable packaging is mylar bags which one can seal using a women’s hair tongs or a clothing iron.  For containers, kilner glass jars are very suitable as they have a good sealing capacity lid.

Heirloom seeds can be purchased in the USA from ‘Seeds Now’ which sells GMO free, organic, raw and untreated seed along with regional growing recommendations.




Friday, November 19, 2021

How to Save Aubergine Seed, Heirloom Seeds, Heirloom Seeds For Sale, Rare Seeds, Seed Saver, How To Save Vegetable Seed.

 



The purple aubergine, now so common, was domesticated in India and Burma; it arrived in China by the 4th century.  The Arabs introduced Europeans to the delights of aubergines in the 7th century.

There is great variation on fruits, from the common large purple to the pea-sized yellow ones in Thailand.  The first varieties grown in England were small and egg-shaped, hence the name eggplant.  Aubergine is the French name, adopted by the English.

Aubergines are a perennial that behaves and is treated as an annual in cold climates, so that young plants are started fresh from seed every spring.  It is self-pollinating, but a small amount of crossing between varieties is likely to occur with insect activity.  You can easily grow and save pure seeds of at least four varieties, conveniently separated by 10 metres ( about 30 feet ).  You can also grow different species side by side, e.g a large purple variety, an African one, and Thai green aubergines.

Choose the first fruits of the most vigorous and healthy plants and leave until they are about to fall off the plant.  Several fruits of the same variety, but from separate bushes, should be kept for the long-term maintenance/genetic diversity of a variety.  Pick and hang the mature fruits in a shed until their colour dulls.

To get at the seeds, one can use a blender.  Cut the fruit into cubes and whizz them up in water at a slow speed.  Pour out the mass and collect the seeds from the bottom.  Wash and spread the seeds thinly on a sieve, leaving them to dry for a day or so.  Place in a paper bag, and hang for a further couple of weeks.

The seeds are viable for five years.  Seeds can be frozen for longer term storage. Suitable packaging for long term storage is mylar bags which will need to be sealed.  a lady's hair-tongs or clothing iron is sufficient for this purpose.  Regarding suitable containers, kilner glass jars are good due to them having a good sealing lid capacity.

- Heirloom seeds can be purchased in the USA from ‘Seeds Now’ which sells GMO free, organic, raw and untreated seed along with regional growing recommendations .    



     

 

Small Scale Seed Drying Methods, Heirloom Seeds, Heirloom Seeds For Sale, Rare Seeds, Seed Saver, How To Save Vegetable Seed.

  When I was setting up a local seed bank in my community called ‘Sussex Community Seed Bank’ in the UK.   I had the good fortune of working...