This year we spent over $50 on seeds for the garden with most of them being vegetables but some flowers as well. My frugal nature always questions purchases like this and I wondered why we need to be spending so much when seeds naturally occur in the vegetables and flowers we grow. Some of the things in the garden are already starting to go to seed, so Annika and I have been collecting. The first seeds to collect were Forget-Me-Not’s and now we will collect Poppy and Columbine as they have already gone to seed. I will have to figure out some kind of filing system to organize them (I am open to ideas). I will be drying the seeds using old cardboard egg cartons and then storing them in tagged small zip-lock baggies.
After watching the Tinkerbell movies Annika loves the idea of spreading seeds around the garden. In the movies one of the important jobs of the garden fairies is to collect seeds from the flowers and sprinkle them around so new flowers will grow in the spring. Annika likes to help out the fairies to make sure the job gets done. The hard part is to control the amount of seeds that get randomly sprinkled in the garden and get her to help me collect them for organized planting.
As for the vegetable seeds I am most interesed in collecting tomato seeds. Also I will try lettuce, beans, peas, chives and onion seeds. Parsley and most other herbs reseed themselves so I will leave the ground alone where they grew the previous year with some compost added in the fall.
Tips that I have read about and would like to share are:
- Use seed from the healthiest plants.
- Use seeds from the best fruit, not the small yucky ones you didn’t eat.
- Clean the seeds well removing all fruit material.
- Harvest more than you need for a slow year but also to share with friends or donate to your local seed saving group.
- Keep seeds organized in bottles or envelopes and label them well.
- Keep seeds in a cool dry place.
Of course I would always suggest to get the kids involved in this process for a learning experience and another connection to their food. Annika is really interested in the life cycle of living things (mostly bugs like ladybugs and butterflies) so she enjoys helping me out with seed saving.
With all this said we better be off to do some more collecting.
Happy Seed Saving!