Are you saving your own garden seeds?
Concerning all the hubbub about seeds, patents and who owns what; wouldn’t it be fabulous to create more localized seed distribution and sharing? With that in mind, we need to understand more about the science of saving seeds, how pollen is moved from plant to plant (is the plant self fertile? pollinated by insects or the wind?) There are lots of good books to help Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth is fantastic. And you may remember this post for my easy technique for saving tomato seeds or you were inspired by this unique idea on NPR about a seed lending program at a public library in Colorado.
Do the plants need to be isolated? If you cover them to keep out pollinators you will need to do the pollination by hand, sometimes simply shaking the plant might work or do your best insect imitation by using a cotton swab or tiny soft brush to collect pollen from one flower and spread to others. Can you tell the difference between male and female flowers? Oh the things to discover. Back to Erica at Northwest Edible Life for Sex in the garden!
You don’t want to save a squash seed and realize months later, when you are cooking up the harvest of squash from that seed, that the plant had cross pollinated with another variety creating a hybrid that is not delicious. (Yes I speak from experience, the squash looked like an acorn but the inside was stringy like spaghetti squash. We did eat it, with lots of butter, since it was the vegetable that I cooked for dinner, but what was leftover went to the chickens. (they didn’t complain)
That is a mistake you only want to make once. Although I have had some other seed failures, peppers that never produced fruit, and radishes that didn’t look right. Was it a seed saving problem or a growing misstep?
I know I wouldn’t want to share my flops with friends. I do have a few seeds that I have been growing out for years, Jacobs Cattle Beans for one, the Teton de Venus tomato and the sexy Sivri Biber chili in this photo. The Sivri Biber is a flavorful chili, delicious sliced thin (HOT) and topping scrambled eggs, on a slice of pizza, or dried and crushed and added where ever you need some tasty heat.
I would be happy to share some of the Sivri Biber chili seeds with you, leave a comment below, email me your address and I will get them to you asap so you can get them planted. I hope I don’t run out!