Now that the growing season if officially over, after having been hit with our first frost, it is time to start sorting through the numerous paper bags, cups and envelopes full of seed I saved throughout the year and organize them for the next growing season.
Seed saving is as exciting to me as the growing of the crops. It will never cease to amaze me how many seeds can come from a single flower or fruit, and just how easy it is to save them for next season's garden. As you can probably tell, saving seeds has become a bit of an obsession for me.
This year I saved seeds from some new varieties like Stowell's Evergreen Sweet Corn, Black Hungarian Peppers, Bell Peppers, Purple Tomatillos, Good Mother Stoddard Pole Beans, Thai Basil. I also saved seeds from some of our flowers including, Marigolds, Sunflower, Zinnia, Morning Glory, Heliotrope, Dahlia, Petunia and Wild Iris.
Over the years it has been harder and harder to find organic corn, so I was excited to successfully grow and save seeds from this heirloom variety. We now have 150 seeds to plant for next year!
Although I wasn't able to grow as many beans as I would have liked, I was able to grow enough for seed. I am looking forward to planting these next year.
A favorite herb we often like to cook with, and is hard for us to find, is Thai basil. This summer I grew several plants and successfully saved hundreds of seeds. We are planning an extensive herb garden next year, so hopefully I will now have a steady supply of seeds.
For the smaller seeds, I use glassine envelopes to store them in, which can be purchased from Seed Savers Exchange.
If you want to learn more about saving seeds you can check out some of my earlier posts about saving basil seeds and making your own seed envelopes like the ones pictured above.
There are several books available that walk you through the steps of saving seeds for each variety, with my favorite being Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth.
One of the many books on my winter reading list this year is The Organic Seed Grower by John Navazio.
We are working towards saving almost all of our own seeds so we don't have to purchase them each year. We have been pretty successful so far and now only buy seeds for new varieties that we want to try and potentially add to our seed saving project.
There have been far more successes than failures, the latest being not harvesting the lettuce seed before the rain and it ended up getting too wet and molding, but there is always next season to try again!
Do you save your own seeds, if so what varieties do you have the best success with?