How to save seeds:
There are many different reasons to save seeds; maybe you are interested in being more self-sufficient, maybe you want to save a little money, maybe you want to save seeds from the best tomato plant you have ever had, or maybe you’re like me and are looking for any way to stick it to large corporations that are monopolizing the seed market.
Seed catalogs have been around for a long time. However, the seed catalog that you get today is a lot different from the ones your grandparents used to get. It used to be the case that seed catalogs offered hundreds of different varieties of seeds for individual vegetables. Today the variety of seeds that are being offered has dramatically dropped. This is one of the reasons behind what I like to call “the seed revolution.”
The seed revolution (I think I might be the only one calling it that) is made up of people who not only save their seeds, but also distribute them. There is also a famous “seed bank” in the artic where they are trying to save every seed they can get their hands on. Having a wide variety of different seeds for individual vegetables is important because it promotes genetic diversity. For example, there are hundreds of different kinds of tomato plants. Some of these varieties thrive better in different climates.
Hybrid Vegetable Plants:
Hybrid vegetable plants are produced by crossing two different varieties. The hybrid plant has a combination of traits from the parent plants. Sometimes a combination is particularly good, producing plants with outstanding vigor, disease resistance, and productivity. Hybrid seeds are generally more expensive as they cost more to produce.
Hybrid plants, such as ‘Big Boy’, ‘Beefmaster’ and ‘Early Girl’ tomatoes will produce viable seed. Plants grown from that seed, however, will not be just like the hybrid parents; instead, they will be a completely new combination of the good and bad traits of the plants that were initially crossed. It’s impossible to predict just how the seedling plant will perform or what qualities the fruit will have.
How to dry seeds:
The first step to saving seeds is to dry them. Moisture is the enemy when it comes to saving seeds. You will want to first thoroughly rinse the seeds. You then lay them on a dry paper towel and pat them down. Avoid drying the seeds in direct sunlight or under extreme heat since this can kill them. Simply patting them down with a dry paper towel and letting them air dry should suffice. You can also use a hair dryer, provided that it’s on a low setting and is used with some distance.
Best environment for saving seeds:
Seeds are not meant to last forever. Naturally seeds only last a season or two before they either sprout into a plant, or decay into the earth. With that said, under the right conditions scientists have been able to sprout seeds from plants that have been extinct for thousands of years.
You will want to store your seeds in a cool and dry place. The reason for this is that mold and bacteria need warmth and moisture in order to thrive and grow. As such, it’s incredibly important to dry your seeds before storing them. Used glass jars will work great, provided that they have been well cleaned and rinsed beforehand.