Tag Archives: Seed Saving

Seed Saving – Squash

I had a rough year with squash.  I planted four kinds: Delicata, Pie Pumpkin, Butternut, and Spaghetti squash.  I find all of these types of squash to be delicious.  Squash Vine Borers agree.  They decimated my squash vines.  I yielded a total of 1 Delicata, 2 Pie Pumpkins, 7 Butternut Squashes and 1 Spaghetti Squash.  The Borers’ yield was much higher.

The squashes that survived, survived the plight of the borers.  They also fruited in the soil, the pollinators, and the climate specific to my area.  These squash were open pollinated, which means that the bees were responsible for pollination.  I could have pollinated them myself so that I would have a more reliant seed result, but I did not.  Perhaps next year.

I am saving the seeds from my squashes as these seeds come from plants that are well adapted to the growing conditions in my garden.  That way, as time progresses, the plant that evolves from these seeds will be custom made for my garden.  Here’s how I saved the seeds (and this method will work for any squash):

When I was ready to eat one of my squashes, I started to prepare it as usual, cutting down the middle of the squash.

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I scooped the seeds out, and put them in a glass mason jar.

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Then I filled the jar with enough water to cover the seeds.

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And then I let the seeds sit fore a few days.  I think I left this one sit for almost two weeks.  That’s a bit of a long time, but It works.  After this time the top of your water may get some growth:

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Drain your seeds.  I drained my seeds directly outside, as there was a definite odor to them.

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Run them through a sieve to clean your seeds.  Use cold water here.

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Don’t be afraid to use your hands.

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Lay the seeds out on paper towels and allow to dry.

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Make sure the seeds are completely dry, and I mean SUPER DUPER COMPLETELY DRY, if there is any moisture, your seeds will mold.  Once dry the seeds are ready for storage.  I put mine in an old glass container, labeled it, and now I’m ready to plant my butternut squash next year.

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I will do the same with the rest of my squashes, so that I have squashes that are hand selected by me for the characteristics I want.

 

Seed Saving – Beans

 

I previously posted this on my old blog.  I decided it would be good to re-post it, as this is the time of year to save your bean seeds.  I include some updated notes which are in italics.

Saving seeds is a great way to be even more economical in your garden.  Every time you are able to provide something for yourself and therefore not purchase a product, you are closer to closer to self-sufficiency.  It’s better for the planet, and it is just neat to watch the way the natural world works.  Also, the process of selecting the beans that work best in your garden and your climate

Today, I’m going to talk about saving some seeds from Dragon Tongue Beans. They were fairly tasty, and looked rather awesome when they were growing. They were purple speckled (and had beautiful flowers.)

At the end of the bean season, I left a few beans on the vine to dry out naturally.  The area isn’t the prettiest, but to me it looks like more nourishment for next year. 

The unpretty patch of beans:


I pick the pods from the patch:


This is an individual pod, so you can see what it looks like all dried out:


Now, I simply split the pod open.  Please excuse the dirt under my nails as I was out in the garden playing):


These were the fruits (perhaps beans?) of that single pod of labor:


Here were the beans from the rest of my labor (I love the pretty color purple!):


There were some brown beans in the pods.  I removed those, as I thought they didn’t look very fertile.  But what do I know.  I may be wrong on this one.  I may also be right.  I have no brown beans.  I didn’t notice whether these germinated or not, I did plant it, though.  Experiment and see what works:


I stored the dried beans in an old glass baby food container and will plant them next year.  This task was easy, and relatively quick and really fun.  I will continue to save seeds as the sense of personal satisfaction is HUGE. I had a great harvest of beans this year.  So many we couldn’t eat them all.  The entire process of saving the seeds, planting the seeds that I saved, and then cooking up the beans from those plant was incredibly cool.  Give it a try this year, or plan to do it next year.  I think you will really enjoy the process.

Dragon’s Tooth Beans

Fall of last year, I saved my dragon’s tooth beans from my garden.  That way I wouldn’t have to buy any bean seeds.  I saved myself a whooping $2.50!  But we all know it’s not just about saving a few dollars here and there.  This was about a sense of self-sufficiency.  About being able to save them myself and gain the knowledge.

I planted them mid-April, about an inch deep in the soil.  I planted them in between my corn.  So my rows alternate one corn seed followed by one bean, and so on.  I didn’t really water them, as we didn’t need it.

So, did it work?  YES! We had rough start at the beginning of the season. Most of our leaves resembled lace.

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We left them go.  Our hope was that the insects that were eating these plants would attract some natural predators and the population would balance out.  We were right!  The plants got healthier as time went on and gave us these beautiful blooms:

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I just finished bringing in my second batch of beans.  They all look very healthy and happy.  And they are super tasty.

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We ate them raw with dinner last night, but you can prepare them anyway you would regular green beans.  A favorite in our house is pan frying them in bacon grease with a few sliced almonds.

We successfully did a full round of our food from beginning to end: We saved the seeds, sowed the seeds, and harvested them, all without any outside resources.