Tag Archives: seed saving

Seed Saving and Selection

Happy New Year Gardeners!

When saving seed we first start with open pollinated varieties that when fertilized will produce offspring true-to-type meaning same as the parent. Hybrids do not produce offspring true-to-type which we why we don’t save seeds from hybrid plants.

When choosing which plants to save for seed select only the most vigorous plants; those that look healthy. Do not save seed from weak or diseased plants. Also look for characteristics that you want, it could be taste, size, or it could be color.

In the photo above the head of lettuce on the left is more deeply freckled than the head on the right. Since the colored freckles are a desired trait we will choose the head on left to save rather than the one on the right which is less colored. The name of the lettuce by the way is Forellenschluss aka Speckled Trout Back aka Freckles.

Which seeds are you going to be saving this year?

Seed Saving in a School Garden

It is late winter and many of the crops from our September planting are either finished (cauliflower, broccoli, peas, beets, and carrots) or bolting (cilantro, lettuce, arugula). Now is the time to pick out which plants we want to save for seed. Choose plants that are healthy, vigorous and with characteristics worth saving. The red Lollo Rosso lettuce below is being chosen for its deep red leaves. We have placed a stake next to with a large circled “S” on it. This is to remind us that we are saving this plant for seed and not to harvest it.

Saving lettuce seed

Our arugula was fantastic this year, the lobed leaves were very mild compared to the more bitter arrow-like leaves even late into the season so we are letting the entire patch go to seed.

arugula patch

“Maintaining the genetic diversity within a population is the key to its continued evolution and the ability of the plants to adapt to varying environmental conditions. To avoid detrimentally decreasing the genetic diversity being maintained within a population of plants, seeds should be saved from the greatest possible number of plants that meet the selection criteria.” – Suzanne Ashworth, “Seed to Seed”

oakleaf lettuce

Green Oakleaf Lettuce being saved for seed