I’ve saved seeds from some of my favorite heirloom or open-pollinated (OP) vegetables especially during covid-19. But I wish now that I had saved more. Next year we might have another seed shortage as we’ve had in 2020. When I went online this week to one of the major seed companies, I already saw ‘out of stock’ on some varieties. Is it because the seed companies just haven’t gotten the seeds in stock or they had some crop failures or maybe their farmers couldn’t get enough help to save seeds due to CV? Are they are coming out late? Who knows. No matter, as I found it alarming that seed companies who would normally have their new seeds by now are ‘out of stock’ on some seeds-not all, but some.
Now that the season is over, and I’ve cleaned out my garden and the last tomatoes are gone (I did save some tomato seeds), I thought are there any more vegetables I still have from the garden where I can still save some of the seeds so late?
The answer for me was yes. I found some Jimmy Nardello peppers that I grew that were stuck in the back of the refrigerator. My seed stock didn’t germinate last year as it was too old. The nurseries were sold out too. I was lucky that a friend had some extras and gave me some. So, in case I couldn’t buy seeds for next year, I took a couple of those Jimmy peppers, cut them open, and saved the seeds. Pepper seeds are easy to save. You just have to take the seeds out and dry them for a few weeks on a paper towel or wax paper till they are really dry-you don’t have to do anything special to save them except keep them from blowing away. Then store in plastic baggie, envelope or some other container.
Beans are another easy crop to save. I’ve saved both green and dry bean varieties. What’s the difference when saving those two? Nothing! I still have to wait til they dry in the pod before taking the seeds. I have some Di Casalbuono Panzariedd dry beans that I shelled (see picture above) and now they are in glass jars, just waiting to go into that Instapot this winter.
I also have one Waltham butternut winter squash left. I can save the seeds from it once I cut into it. They are a little more messy as you have to remove the stringy stuff and the seeds are a bit slimy but I will wash the seed slime off and then let them dry out on wax paper before storing.
So besides saving seeds from some vegetables you grew (that you liked), I feel it’s important for us to save seeds for future growers and to continue vegetable varieties. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover a new variation of a variety. If the world ran out of seeds, we’d all get hungry pretty quick.
I also noticed that the price of many seeds seem to be higher this year in the seed catalogues which is another good reason to save your own seeds.
Remember to only save heirloom or open-polinated vegetables as hybrids will not grow out true to the same variety. Could you grow a hybrid seed? Of course, but you just wouldn’t know what it might turn out to be.
I know it might be too late for many of you this year but start to think about saving seeds in the future. This CV, if nothing else, shows us we can’t take much for granted. Save seeds-save money.
Some of us will be growing what we can get, even if that means growing the leftovers from friends and neighbors. When I purchase seed, I feel obligated to grow every single seed in the packet, which is, for some types, impractical. Those that get sown into rows of many plants, such as carrots, radishes and beets, typically get used completely, even if rows are a bit crowded. However,, tomato and pepper seed packets contain more than I or most people have use for. Those are the seed that I share.
That’s great Tony! Yes we rarely can use all the seeds in a packet except for what you mentioned so sharing is really good. I use what I want and quite often share seeds with our local seed exchange in spring.
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