saving seeds

Saving Corn Seeds

Corn : Zea Mays

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ttp://www.seedsave.org/issi/904/experienced.html

PLANT: Female corn flowers are pollinated predominately by the wind, rarely by insects. Pollen is light and can be carried great distances. For purity, separate two varieties pollinating at the same time by at least 1 mile. Reasonable results are obtained with separation of 1000 feet. 

FLOWER: Corn is monecious, producing separate male and female flowers on each plant. Male flowers appear as tassels on the top of corn stalks and female flowers are pollinated via the silk emerging from each ear. 

INBREEDING DEPRESSION: Corn is susceptible to intense inbreeding depression. If seed is saved from too few plants, subsequent plants may be short, mature late and produce few ears. Grow at least 200 plants and save the seeds from at least 100 of the best. 

SELECTION TRAITS: Although corn genetics have been extensively studied, most meaningful traits are controlled by numerous genes and exact explanations are complicated. The following are general predictions: kernel sweetness:
(su) sweet flavor (wrinkled seed), r
(sh2) shrunken, extreme sweetness (wrinkled seed), r
(se) supersweet, (delays starch formation), r
kernel color: black, D (results in black or blue); c olored, D (over white); white, r. kernel starch : flint, D; sweet corn, r. 

HARVEST: Corn seed is usually ready to be harvested 4-6 weeks after eating stage. If growing season is not long enough, pick ears after husks turn brown. Pull back husks and complete drying in cool, dry location. 

PROCESS: Process all but very large amounts of seed by gripping dried ears by hand and twisting allowing kernels to fall into container. Any remaining silk and chaff can be winnowed.

 

Saving Bean Seeds 

Some the varieties from the seed Savour Kit are , Bobis d’Albenga, Purple queen Bean , Trionfo Violetto, and the  Borlotto Lingue di Fuoco

Different varieties should be separated by 150 feet or another crop flowering at the same time, we rarely observe cross-pollination even when two varieties are grown next to each other.

Beans produce perfect, self-pollinating flowers. Cross pollination by insects is possible but rare as pollination occurs before the flower opens. Because the anthers are pushed up against the stigma, automatic pollination is assured when the anthers open. Allow pods to dry brown before harvesting, about six weeks after eating stage. If frost threatens, pull entire plant, root first, and hang in cool, dry location until pods are brown.

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Saving Peas 

Saving seeds from Pea pods ‘Pisum sativum

Peas produce perfect, self-pollinating flowers. Cross-pollination by insects is possible but rare because pollination occurs before the flower opens. Because the stigma does open before pollen is ready crosses theoretically could occur. Peas are easy to harvest. Allow pods to dry brown before harvesting, about four weeks after eating stage. If frost threatens, pull entire plant, root first, and hang in cool, dry location until pods are brown

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Saving Tomato Seeds 

How to save tomato seeds?

Tomato seeds are fairly easy to save, there just a few things you need to know with getting it right.

Once you tomatoes are fully matured:

Look for a healthy and disease or fungus free tomato. Usually try to go for the strongest and best looking ones. A good seed goes a long way and will prevent further saved seeds from giving you a poor crop. Most tomatoes follow the same principles with saving seeds.

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The tomato seeds are enclosed in a gel like sack.which contain growth inhibitors that prevents the seeds from sprouting inside the fruit. A fermenting process can be used to remove the gel coating and in nature this happens when the fruit falls of the plant and rots. The process can be sped by slicing the tomato in half through the stem and scooping the flesh and seeds into a cup or bowl. You may use a spoon to do this.

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add a little water if necessary to merge all seeds into water

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Once the seeds have been collect make sure they are floating int he liquid of the tomato juice if not, add a little water  to allow the seeds to be separated from the pulp.  Then cover the jar or glass with plastic kitchen  film or a paper towel.  If you use a film make sure you poke some holes in the top, this will keep fruit flies away or form entering the glass. Then store the seeds in a warm spot for the fermentation process to begin.

poke holes into plastic wrapping (cling film) to keep out fruit flies

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This will take about 4 days and continue this process till a layer of mold appears above you seeds and pulp. However don’t allow the seeds to ferment passed this stage or they might start to germinate. A easy way to tell if  the process has worked is that  the seeds have sunken to the bottom. One can now carefully remove the mold layer from the container and the pulp and seeds can be strained with a sieve. You will see the seeds will be left without a gel coating and if there is still some left, you might have to continue the process a bit longer.

Use a strainer to clean the seeds

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Once the seeds have been cleaned , spread the seeds on a not stick surface. baking paper is a good way to prevent seeds from sticking to the surface which may damage then when you try to remove them. try to spread the seeds out so that they don’t touch each other.  this makes it easier to sort  later. When drying you seeds keep them out of direct sun light. temperature about 29 degrees Celsius can kill seeds preventing them from germinating.

Also labeling you seeds if your drying a variety of tomato seeds is important so you don’t get them mixed up.  I personally like to keep seeds from the strongest and biggest tomato plants.

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Try not to waste the flesh from some tomato’s. Especially fleshy ones where there tend to be less seeds compared to eg.  a yellow pear tomato. The nutrients can be used in a pasta or a delicious tomato soup.

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