SEED SAVING 101
Seed Savers Exchange
Grant Olson
Our mission is to save North America’s diverse,
but endangered, garden heritage for future
generations by building a netwo...
Seed saving is the process of
saving seeds from open-
pollinated fruits, vegetables,
grains, flowers & herbs.
Open-pollina...
Intentional, controlled cross-
pollination is used to create
hybrid seeds.
Hybrids will only exhibit reliable
characterist...
choosing to save seeds
things to know as a seed saver:
1. know your variety
2. know the lifecycle of your plants
3. know how your plants pollinat...
know your variety
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
common name: bean
binomial name: Phaseolus vu...
common names can be misleading
crop types can contain multiple species
species can contain multipe crop types
vegetables may have ‘weedy’ relatives
know the lifecycle of your plants
why flowers exist
annuals
biennials
know how your plants pollinate
(flower structure)
anther
produces pollen
seeds form in ovary
after fertilization
stigma
receives pollen
selfers
keel
fused
anthers
potential outcrossers
likely outcrossers
obligate outcrossers
know how to isolate your plants
grow only one variety
distance
time
barriers
barriers
know how many plants to grow
Population Size
Strongly
Outbreeding
Ex. Brassicas
Strongly
Inbreeding
Ex. tomato
Generally
Inbreeding
Ex. pepper
Generall...
know your environment
know when to harvest
know how to prepare your seeds for storage
dry seeds
threshing
winnowing
wet seeds
(fermenting)
rinsing
drying
dry
too wet
know how to store your seeds
know how to share
traits of a good
seed saver:
observant
organized
inquisitive
for more information:
Seed to Seed, Suzanne Ashworth
A Seed Saving Guide for
Gardeners and Farmers, OSA
www.seedalliance.o...
The old varieties are threatened today, not
because of any deficiencies, but because they
are not suitable for factory far...
Seed Saving 101
Seed Saving 101
Seed Saving 101
Seed Saving 101
Seed Saving 101
Seed Saving 101
Seed Saving 101
Seed Saving 101
Seed Saving 101
Seed Saving 101
Seed Saving 101
Seed Saving 101
Seed Saving 101
Seed Saving 101
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Seed Saving 101

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Introduction to saving seeds, preserving heirloom and open-pollinated varieties, and plant pollination.

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  • when we talk about ‘our garden heritage’, we can be referring to: family heirlooms (give brief Grandpa Ott’s story)
  • old market varieties (give brief Moon and Stars watermelon story)
  • moremodern OP varieties that have become important to American gardeners
  • this is a simplified illustration of cross-pollination.
  • people choose to save seeds for many reasons (briefly discuss some reasons for saving seeds). your reason to save seeds can impact your practices significantly. if you’re only interested in saving seeds to save a bit of money, you may have different tolerances for cross-pollination and population size than if you have a very rare family heirloom that you’d like to maintain.
  • importance of knowing common name vs scientific name
  • (carrot flower)
  • every flowering garden plant goes through a similar cycle: seed, plant, flower, fruit/seedhead, then back to seed. to find the seeds, look first for the flower.
  • annuals produce flowers in their first year (list examples of annuals). however, not all gardeners are accustomed to letting their plants reach the flowering phase of their lifecycle. lettuce is an example.
  • biennials require a cold period to stimulate flower production in their second year of growth (discuss examples, including chard)
  • some plants are likely to self-pollinate as a result of their flower structure
  • despite having perfect flowers, several crops are potential outcrossers – pollen often moves between flowers and between plants
  • despite having perfect flowers, several crops are potential outcrossers – pollen often moves between flowers and between plants
  • some plants have separate male and female flowers and so require insects to move pollen from one flower to another. because insects aren’t picky about which plants they harvest pollen from, these crop types can be easily cross-pollinated with another variety in the same species growing close by.
  • this rudimentary graph gives a general guideline for population sizes: the more inclined toward outbreeding your crop type is, the larger the population you need to maintain it. population size depends on crop type, but it is also circumstantial – if you’re able to buy in new seeds every few years, you might not need to save seed from 80 cabbage plants.
  • what is the feasibility of growing particular crops for seed in your area? also, what are your neighbors growing (corn, for example)?
  • dry-seeded crops should be left on the vine until fruit is brown and brittle, seeds inside will be very hard
  • for some wet-seeded crops, market maturity = seed maturity
  • for other wet-seed crops, market maturity ≠ seed maturity
  • dry seeded crops
  • threshing
  • winnowing
  • wet-seeded crops have fleshy fruits with seeds inside. first, seeds must be removed from the flesh.
  • finally, seeds must be allowed to dry.
  • seeds must be rinsed.
  • finally, seeds must be allowed to dry.
  • seeds must be sufficiently dry before storage
  • seeds should be kept dry and cool during storage. protection from bugs and rodents is also a consideration. glass jars, metal boxes, or pest-proof cabinets are potential considerations. and be sure to label your seeds well!
  • the Yearbook
  • seed swaps, seed libraries, organizing community seed groups
  • Seed Saving 101

    1. 1. SEED SAVING 101 Seed Savers Exchange Grant Olson
    2. 2. Our mission is to save North America’s diverse, but endangered, garden heritage for future generations by building a network of people committed to collecting, conserving, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants, while educating people about the value of genetic and cultural diversity.
    3. 3. Seed saving is the process of saving seeds from open- pollinated fruits, vegetables, grains, flowers & herbs. Open-pollinated varieties are maintained by allowing pollen to flow only between plants of the same variety. When pollen flows between different varieties within the same species, this is known as cross-pollination.
    4. 4. Intentional, controlled cross- pollination is used to create hybrid seeds. Hybrids will only exhibit reliable characteristics in their first generation. Seeds harvested from hybrid plants will not likely grow up to look or taste like their parent. To save seed, you must start with open-pollinated seeds and plants.
    5. 5. choosing to save seeds
    6. 6. things to know as a seed saver: 1. know your variety 2. know the lifecycle of your plants 3. know how your plants pollinate 4. know how to isolate your plants 5. know how many plants to grow 6. know your environment 7. know when to harvest your seeds 8. know how to prep your seeds for storage 9. know how to store your seeds 10. know how to share
    7. 7. know your variety
    8. 8. Kingdom: Plantae Division: Magnoliophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Order: Fabales common name: bean binomial name: Phaseolus vulgaris Family: Fabaceae Genus: Phaseolus Species: vulgaris P. vulgaris will only cross with other P. vulgaris beans. It will not cross with runner beans (P. coccineus), lima beans (P. lunatus), or fava beans (Vicia faba). What is my plant’s Species?
    9. 9. common names can be misleading
    10. 10. crop types can contain multiple species
    11. 11. species can contain multipe crop types
    12. 12. vegetables may have ‘weedy’ relatives
    13. 13. know the lifecycle of your plants
    14. 14. why flowers exist
    15. 15. annuals
    16. 16. biennials
    17. 17. know how your plants pollinate
    18. 18. (flower structure) anther produces pollen seeds form in ovary after fertilization stigma receives pollen
    19. 19. selfers
    20. 20. keel
    21. 21. fused anthers
    22. 22. potential outcrossers
    23. 23. likely outcrossers
    24. 24. obligate outcrossers
    25. 25. know how to isolate your plants
    26. 26. grow only one variety
    27. 27. distance
    28. 28. time
    29. 29. barriers
    30. 30. barriers
    31. 31. know how many plants to grow
    32. 32. Population Size Strongly Outbreeding Ex. Brassicas Strongly Inbreeding Ex. tomato Generally Inbreeding Ex. pepper Generally Outbreeding Ex. Squash
    33. 33. know your environment
    34. 34. know when to harvest
    35. 35. know how to prepare your seeds for storage
    36. 36. dry seeds
    37. 37. threshing
    38. 38. winnowing
    39. 39. wet seeds
    40. 40. (fermenting)
    41. 41. rinsing
    42. 42. drying
    43. 43. dry too wet
    44. 44. know how to store your seeds
    45. 45. know how to share
    46. 46. traits of a good seed saver: observant organized inquisitive
    47. 47. for more information: Seed to Seed, Suzanne Ashworth A Seed Saving Guide for Gardeners and Farmers, OSA www.seedalliance.org/publications SSE Webinars www.seedsavers.org/webinars
    48. 48. The old varieties are threatened today, not because of any deficiencies, but because they are not suitable for factory farmers and the food processing industry. As long as food crops are being bred for machines and large commercial growers, the needs of the home gardener will be of marginal importance. The old varieties will survive and flourish only if they continue to be grown by backyard gardeners and sold by local farmers markets, organic food co-ops, and CSAs. Suzanne Ashworth Seed to Seed

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