How to Save Seeds

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For thousands of years farmers saved their seeds each year so that they could plant again the following year. 

Think about this:  There is a story of a school out in the western United States that would give the students a cob of corn to go out and start a new life. They would take that cob and use all the kernels to plant corn the next season. 

Those 200 kernels turned into 200 plants that each had 4 cobs of corn. Now that one corn cob had turned into 160,000 kernels of corn in just one year! Imagine the increase year after year by saving just a small portion of kernels for seed.

By saving seed that is open pollinated you will find that the crop will adapt and grow better and better in your climate and region. After all, who wants to be a slave to a system of going to the store to buy seed as the only way to grow food?

Most plants if left to continue to grow through the harvest and into the fall will develop seed coats where the seeds are safely stored. The majority of seeds need to be harvested and dried to germinate properly the following season. Ideally you will be plucking dried seeds from the plants when they are ready.

The seed packets are important because often the seed hardens and will drop to the ground. You need to be constantly watching for the optimal time and then harvest the seed. 

Store your seeds in paper bags. This will allow them to continue to dry. Store your seeds in these bags or sealed containers free from moisture, heat and sun exposure. Ideally store seed in a very cool, dark, and dry environment. To get seeds from fruit or veggies where the inside is where the seed is stored like a tomato, you want to scoop out the seed and spread them on a towel, cloth or coffee filter paper but not regular paper towel due to them sticking. Leave them here for a while and let them dry.

You can use our free printable below and make your own seed packets!

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Seed Starting 101

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So the reality is that not all of us live in paradise where we can grow food 365 days a year. Don’t worry, you will see how you can make the most of your growing season(s) wherever you live by starting your seeds indoors.

First thing you want to learn is the date of your last frost. You can find this online or from your local County Extension office. What you want to do is plant the seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before that date. After that date, we will be taking our plants outdoors into the open air. For us here in the south we shoot for just after Easter weekend each year or around the 3rd weekend in April as our planting date.


Seed Starting Directions: 

  1. Find a small tray with good drainage that can be used to plant your seeds. You can find one of these at your local hardware store. Take care of it so that you can reuse it over and over again. 

  2. Buy a bag of potting soil. This is a little different than regular soil in that it drains really easily, holds the perfect amount of moisture for the seeds and makes for a more oxygenated environment for your seed to spring to life. Don’t pack the soil too tightly, leave it pretty loose. The water will eventually compact it some. 

  3. Insert your ‘Heirloom’ seeds (more on this in other posts) into the soil per their planting instructions on the packet. You may want to add extra in case some don’t germinate and grow. 

  4. Lightly sprinkly water over the seeds and soil and make sure the soil is not compacted. 

  5. Cover the tray with a thick layer of plastic to keep the plants warm and move it to a warm location (65-75 de-grees) with good circulation and where it gets indirect light. Check it and water daily as needed.

  6. As soon as you see sprouts coming through, remove the plastic covering and give them more light. 

  7. Each plant should be growing without interference from other plants, if you have more than one plant in a spot, remove the extra and plant it somewhere else. This is called “pricking out”. 

  8. When the weather gets warm, you want to take your plants outside and let them harden off􀀁 To do this you want to set your tray in the shade for a few days. Then for a few hours a day in the sunshine. 

  9. After you do this for a few days, your plants will be ready for the great outdoors!

Plant your plants in healthy soil enriched with compost and minerals􀀁 If you are using pots make sure they pro-vide plenty of room to grow􀀁 If in a garden, make sure the soil is loose and drains well.

Happy Planting,

Jared