Some avid gardeners will be interested in seed saving, which is a rewarding thing to do. After a good harvest, gardeners may save seeds to be used again the following year. Seed saving allows you to plant the same varieties you like in your garden again.
Saving the seeds brings many benefits to your garden, and you can share your favorite seeds with friends and family. If you don't know how to do this, this blog will give you advice and inspiration. Seed saving is worth it!
Why save the seeds?
If you don't know why you need to save seeds, you may think it doesn't make sense. Knowing why will give you a clearer idea of the importance of doing so.
Better adapted to the environment
Growing plants continuously from the same type of seeds makes them more adapted to the climate and environment. These plants will thrive and be more resistant to disease.
Reject genetically modified seeds
GMOs are common in agriculture, and the seeds you buy in flower markets or online stores are likely the result of GMOs. These seeds may have been customized and modified to suit most customers.
We know that GMO foods can cause some health problems, such as obesity and allergies. To keep your garden out of the hands of GMO technology, it is recommended that you save seeds for successive plantings from the previous year's bumper crop.
Saving seeds is a great way for you to save money on your gardening. You can grow plants using the same type of seeds for years in a row, which can reduce the expense of buying seeds.
Saving heirloom seeds
Heirloom seeds have a special meaning. If you want to have your heirloom crop, just save the seeds of a quality crop after each good harvest.
Then in the second year, the seeds are sown in the soil. Saving the seeds is the easiest way for you to get your hands on heirloom plants.
How do I save the seeds?
Saving seeds doesn't mean simply having to put them in a certain place. You not only need to save the seeds, you need to keep them in good condition all the time. If you want to get good- quality seeds out before the next planting season, there are a few tricks you must master.
Step 1: Collect the seeds
If you think you will continue to grow the same types of plants next growing season, you should collect seeds after the harvest. If you want to collect pumpkin seeds, you can cut open a pumpkin fruit. Remove the pumpkin seeds inside and wash them.
Step 2: Let the seeds dry
If your seeds are bare, you should allow them to become dry. Place your seeds on a piece of cloth and spread them out in a thin layer. Then place them in a well-ventilated location and stir them every other day. It is important to note that the ideal temperature for drying seeds is between 60 and 100°F.
You can also use tools to dry the seeds, such as fans and food dehydrators. Your food dehydrator needs to have a very low-temperature setting (27-32°C). Do not run the dehydrator for more than half an hour at a time to prevent the seeds from overheating.
Step 3: Store the seeds
Prepare containers for the seeds ahead of time. After drying is complete, store the seeds in the container. Containers can be storage boxes, paper envelopes, or zipper-lock bags.
(seeds in storage jars)
Remember to label the type and storage date for your next pickup. The place where you store the seeds should be dark and cool.
How to save the seeds for a long time
If you want to store seeds for a long time, you need to provide the ideal environment for them to live in. The two elements necessary for a perfect living environment are coolness and dryness.
There should be no moisture around the seeds and the temperature should be no higher than 4 degrees Celsius, but no lower than the freezing temperature. A dark environment is best for long-term seed storage.
Indoor mini greenhouse
A backyard greenhouse is not the perfect environment for seeds to live in; sunlight and moisture can hurt seeds. If indoors, a indoor greenhouse or grow tent can also be used as a seed storage room.
You should use your mini-greenhouse or grow tent for indoor plants wisely. If you don't have indoor gardening plans right now, you can use this greenhouse for saving seeds. You need to clean this greenhouse and make sure it is dry. The greenhouse material should be impervious to light. Control the temperature inside the greenhouse and do not let the temperature get too high.
Store in the refrigerator
Refrigeration is the recommended method for saving seeds. Refrigerators are the best place to keep seeds. Unlike storage rooms and basements, refrigerators are located in our living area and are easy to use. If you want to store your seeds in the refrigerator, the temperature should be kept between 2 and 4 degrees Celsius. At low temperatures, moisture condenses more easily. It is recommended to put the seeds in an airtight container before storing them in the refrigerator.
How long can seeds be kept?
The germination rate of seeds that have already aged will decrease. Storing seeds properly will keep them alive longer.
Short-lived seeds (1 year)
Alliums such as corn, spinach, okra, anemone, pepper, shallot, or garlic have the shortest life span. These vegetables contain more oil than other vegetables.
General seeds (3 to 4 years)
Beets, cabbage family, carrots, squash, celery, spinach, and Asian vegetables such as cabbage.
Long-lived seeds (4 to 6 years)
Seeds of radish, cucumber, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale can be kept for 4 to 6 years.
Want to have heirloom plants? Seed saving is the best way for you to make this idea a reality. Saving the seeds offers many benefits for the home gardener. However, saving seeds is not an easy task, you need to know your plants and provide the perfect environment for the seeds (ideal temperature and dimly lit). To keep your seeds from deteriorating, do not exceed the recommended maximum storage time.