How to Plan A Seed Saving Garden


* This article may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.

 

Plan your garden with seed saving in mind. Learn which seeds to choose, which plants to save seed from and how seed saving can benefit you and your garden! #seedstarting #seedsaving #gardenplanning #heirloomseedsSpring is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to start planning your garden (if you haven’t started already!) But before you decide what to plant, you might want to consider whether or not you want to save seeds from your garden. If so, you’ll need to plan accordingly.

Seed saving is both a science and an art. While it may seem pretty straightforward, it actually takes a bit of forethought and pre-planning in order to grow a garden that not only produces delicious homegrown produce, but also produces viable seeds for you to harvest and save for replanting in the future.

 

Why Save Seeds?

So, why bother saving seeds in the first place? Why not just buy them from the store? 

For starters, if you’re into homesteading and self-sufficiency, seed saving is like, the ultimate skill to have in your pocket.

Even if you’re a home gardener who doesn’t mind purchasing seeds year after year, if you want to hone your skills and improve your garden at the same time then you should definitely plan your garden with seed saving in mind.

Saving your own seeds not only saves you money, it ensures you always have seeds on hand that you can replant and turn into food, the ultimate goal when it comes to self-reliance! Seed saving also allows you to save your favourite varieties year after year and even improve them over time by carefully selecting only the best seeds from the best plants each year. This also results in seeds that are specially adapted to your garden zone and microclimate. 

Who knows, you may even develop your own heirloom variety that can be handed down for generations to come! 

 

How To Plan A Seed Saving Garden

So what do you need to consider when planning your seed saving garden?

For starters, you’ll want to begin by selecting the right kind of seeds to grow and save.

Then you’ll need to decide how involved you want to be in the seed saving process, which will help you determine which varieties you’ll want to save seeds from.

You’ll need to know what type of pollination the plants you choose will need, and how far their isolation distance is from one another. You might need to know how to hand pollinate different plants if you want to grow two different varieties close to one another.

And you should definitely know how to save seeds from the individual plants you choose. This includes knowing how long it will take for the plant to go to seed and how to know when the seeds are ready to harvest.

It might seem like a lot, but it’s really quite simple once you understand the basic process. So let’s break it down… 

 

Related: A Complete Guide to Organic Gardening for Beginners

 

Selecting the Right Types Of Seeds

There are several types of seeds, and not all are suitable for seed saving. Here’s a quick break down of each type:

 

1. Open-Pollinated Seeds

* Good for seed saving *

These seeds come from plants grown and pollinated by wind, insects or by hand. This is how plants have been grown and how farmers have saved seeds since the dawn of time and the rise of agriculture, and the result is a huge amount of genetic diversity among plant species. 

Open-pollinated seeds can be saved and replanted the next year and will grow into the same type of plant as the one they came from, so long as they don’t accidentally cross-pollinate with another variety. If you want to be able to save seeds from your garden, definitely look for open-pollinated seeds when planning your garden.

 

2. Hybrid Seeds

* Not good for seed saving *

Hybrids come from two different parent plants that are the same species, but not the same plant (for example, broccolini, which is a cross between broccoli and gai lan (aka. Chinese broccoli).

They are created by deliberately cross-pollinating two different types of plants to create an entirely new type. Some other examples of hybrid plants are sweet corn, meyer lemons (cross between lemons and mandarin oranges), and grapefruit (cross between sweet orange and pomelo). 

If you save seeds from hybrid plants they probably won’t grow true to the plant you saved them from, meaning they’ll look more like one of the hybrid’s parent plants, or perhaps like something completely different, and they tend to taste woody, watery, bitter or just bland, depending on the vegetable type and what it was crossed with. If you grow hybrids you should probably stick to buying new seeds each year so you can be sure of what you’re growing.

 

3. Heirloom Seeds

* Good for seed saving *

Heirloom seeds are a type of open-pollinated seed that have been carefully selected and passed down through generations, hence the name “heirloom”. They’re typically the best of the best as they’re both open-pollinated and they’ve been carefully selected from the strongest, tastiest and highest-yielding plants by generations of gardeners and farmers. 

In order to be considered heirloom seeds, the seeds need to come from open-pollinated plants that are at least 50 years old, but many heirlooms are hundreds and even thousands of years old, and have evolved and adapted to become some of the tastiest, most nutritious and most beautiful and unique plants in any home garden. 

Heirlooms are the all-around best choice for seed saving. Not only will you be able to save seeds from heirloom varieties, you’ll be doing your part to preserve rare and one-of-a-kind seeds that have been carefully selected and passed down throughout history!

 

4. GMO Seeds

* Not good for seed saving *

Genetically modified “GMO” seeds are engineered in a lab and are often not only the result of crossing two different plant types of the same species, but different species altogether! So, for example, you might have a tomato that has been crossed with pig DNA to make its skin tougher so that it lasts longer, or corn that has been genetically engineered to include a bacterial gene that makes it immune to certain herbicides. 

Since GMO seeds bred in a lab, they are patented, making it not only difficult to save the seeds (as they likely won’t produce true to their parent), but actually illegal! While it is highly unlikely that you will come across GMO seeds as a home gardener, it’s still something to be aware of when selecting both your seeds and your food at the grocery store.

Plan your garden with seed saving in mind. Learn which seeds to choose, which plants to save seed from and how seed saving can benefit you and your garden! #seedstarting #seedsaving #gardenplanning #heirloomseeds

Some seeds are as beautiful and unique as their full-grown counterparts, like these scarlet runner beans.

 

Choosing the Best Plant Varieties For Seed Saving

Another thing you’ll want to know is which plant varieties are easiest to save seeds from. In order to know this, you’ll need to know how they are pollinated. 

 

Self-Pollinating Plants

Self-pollinating plants are the easiest plants to save seeds from. As their name suggests, they don’t require cross-pollination, so there’s very little chance that they will cross with another variety of plant and produce hybrid seeds. This, in turn, means they will produce seeds that will grow true to their parent when replanted, and that’s exactly what you want when saving seeds.

Self-pollinating plants also require the least amount of work because you don’t need to worry about pollinating by hand or about covering plants to keep them from cross-pollinating with another variety. So if you’re a beginner or you’re just looking for the easiest plants to save seeds from, you’re gonna want to choose self-pollinating plants.

Self-pollinators include: 

  • Tomatoes
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Lettuce
  • Peppers

 

Cross-Pollinating Plants

Other plants need cross-pollination in order to produce seeds. These plants either have female and male flowers that need to cross-pollinate, or each plant is either a male or a female and the two need to cross-pollinate with each other in order for the female plant to produce seeds.

While it’s absolutely possible to save seeds from cross-pollinating plants, you do need to take some precautions in order to make sure they don’t cross-pollinate with a different variety of plant. If they do cross-pollinate with a different variety, the seeds might not grow true to the plant you saved them from. We’ll talk about some of those precautions in the next section.

Cross-pollinators include:

  • Cucumbers
  • Squash
  • Corn
  • Beets
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini
  • Onions

Plan your garden with seed saving in mind. Learn which seeds to choose, which plants to save seed from and how seed saving can benefit you and your garden! #seedstarting #seedsaving #gardenplanning #heirloomseedsHow to Save Seeds From Cross-Pollinating Plants

In order to effectively save seed from cross-pollinated plants, you’ll need to make sure that each varieties of plants from the same species are kept far enough away from each other that they won’t cross-pollinate with each other. 

Cross-pollinating plants need a minimum amount of space between different varieties of the same species in order to produce seeds that breed true. This amount of space is called the isolation distance

Plant varieties that are pollinated by insects and wind often need up to a mile or more of distance between different varieties in order to ensure they don’t cross-pollinate. That means you shouldn’t grow, say, pumpkins and spaghetti squash beside each other if you want to save seeds that will breed true to one plant or the other. 

I learned this first-hand when I had a volunteer plant pop up in my pumpkin patch last year and realized it was obviously a cross between a pumpkin and a spaghetti squash due to its spaghetti squash-like shape and its pumpkin-like colour. Squashes that cross with different varieties tend to be more watery and less flavourful than their parent plants, which is why you want to be careful when planting two varieties close to each other if you plan on seed saving.

 

Hand Pollinating

You can still save seeds from cross-pollinating plant varieties if you hand pollinate. The process is definitely more involved than just leaving self-pollinating plants to do all the work themselves, but it is a way to ensure you end up with seeds that will breed true to the parent plant.

There are different methods of hand pollinating, including bagging, caging and taping the pollen-producing and pollen-receiving parts of a given plant. This helps to ensure these plants won’t be able to cross-pollinate on their own and you’ll be able to manually pollinate the female flowers by spreading pollen from the male flowers by hand, either by gently rubbing the male and female flowers together, sprinkling pollen onto the female flowers by hand or by using a small brush or a similar tool to transfer pole from the male to the female plants.

Hand pollinating is a bit more of an advanced and involved technique so if you’re just starting to save seeds I recommend starting with self-pollinating varieties. But if you’re up for a challenge, hand pollinating gives you the ability to save true seeds from different varieties of cross-pollinating plants in your garden. Once you get good at hand pollinating, you can even get creative and try creating your very own hybrid cross!

 

How to Save Seeds From Common Garden Vegetables

Finally, you need to know how and when to save seeds from different plants in your garden. Most common garden vegetables are annuals, meaning they produce seeds at the end of their growing season in their first year. But some plants (like broccoli, kale, carrots, beets, onions and celery) are biennials, meaning they won’t produce seeds until their second year.

You should definitely know which are which if you want to save seeds from them so you’ll know when to expect the seeds to be ready. This is especially helpful if you plan on succession planting as you’ll know how long you need to leave a particular plant in the ground before it goes to seed.

You should also familiarize yourself with how to save seeds from different plants since seed saving techniques differ between different plant species. For example, beans and peas are probably the easiest seeds to save. All you need to do is leave the pods on the vine until they completely dry up. Then you crack them open and save the dried up seeds from inside.

Saving tomato seeds can be a bit trickier. They usually require a short fermentation, then need to be rinsed well and dried.

Once you decide what plants you want to save seeds from, you can familiarize yourself with the appropriate seed saving technique(s) for those particular plants.

Plan your garden with seed saving in mind. Learn which seeds to choose, which plants to save seed from and how seed saving can benefit you and your garden! #seedstarting #seedsaving #gardenplanning #heirloomseeds

 

How Does All Of This Affect Your Garden Planning?

When it comes to planning your garden, you’ll need to consider all of the above when deciding

  • which plants, varieties and types of seeds you will grow
  • where to plant certain varieties (and how far apart)
  • whether or not you want to succession plant (and when you’ll be able to)
  • whether or not you will need to pollinate by hand, and if you need to purchase any supplies (like netting or tape) to do so

If you plan on saving seeds from your home garden this year, now is the time to start thinking  about it. In other words, don’t wait until October to decide you want to save seeds from your pumpkins, because by then they may have already crossed with your zucchinis! An ounce of planning is worth hundreds of homework seeds:)

So get your seeds and garden gloves ready because spring is on its way my friend.

Happy garden planning!

 

 

 

P.S. Be sure to download our FREE Seed Starting Cheat Sheet! Take the guesswork out of starting 10 common garden vegetables from seed and start growing your own organic food at home today!


CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
You Might Also Like
Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe

* This article may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.   Elderberry syrup has gained popularity in recent years as a natural but powerful herbal remedy, particularly for treating colds and flu. After all,...

read more

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup

* This article may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.   Okay, I’m just gonna come out and say it: I’m a total sucker for pumpkin spice. Call me #basic, but it’s the truth. In fact, I’m all about everything fall:...

read more

After 9 long months of extreme hand washing and sanitizing, the last thing our skin needs right now is the harshness of winter. But winter is here my friends, and that means it’s time to give your skin a little extra TLC.

I make my own body butter every year around this time, and it’s become my favourite way to moisturize my skin during the winter months. Much like a deep conditioner works on your hair, body butter absorbs deeply into your skin to help moisturize, repair and protect it.

While lotions contain water (aqua), they also requires additional preservatives to keep them from going moldy due to the water content. But this homemade whipped body butter doesn’t have this problem because it’s made of nourishing oils and fats like shea butter, sweet almond oil and coconut oil (plus beneficial essential oils for all-natural fragrance). These oils are not only all-natural and highly beneficial for your skin, they’re also easily absorbed, giving your skin a “deep conditioning” rather than just a surface moisturizing.

But the best part of all is how quick and easy this body butter is to make up in your kitchen, and what a nice gift it makes this time of year too! So you can make a jar for yourself and a few jars for the people you love:)

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-body-butter/ to get the full recipe and “whip up” a batch today;)
.
.
.
#bodybutter #naturalbeauty #naturalliving #skindeep #homemade #handmade #naturalskincare
...

The holidays are fast approaching, and that means it’s time for my FAVOURITE THINGS!!! 🎉🎁🎄(aka. The modern homesteader’s Christmas wish list;)

I’ve rounded up all of my fave kitchen tools, books and home and body products that I use all the time and could not live without (ok, I could live without them, but I wouldn’t want to!) and I’m sharing them all with you in this week’s YouTube video!

Grab a mug of something warm (or a glass of something chilled) and come on in for a tour of all the goods!

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to YouTube.com/thehouseandhomestead for all the latest videos:)
...

I’ve wanted to learn how to forage for wild mushrooms for years but have always either missed the season, been too busy or just couldn’t find anyone to take me out and show me the ropes. (Mushroom hunters are known for being a little tight-lipped about sharing their spots;)

Well, today I finally got out with a guide and found my very first Chanterelle all by myself!!

This sort of thing might seem like no big deal to most people, but for those of us with an insatiable appetite for learning new skills, it’s a milestone moment.

There’s still an endless list of skills I want to learn and projects I want to tackle. The thing I love most about the homesteading lifestyle is that there is literally always something new to learn!

I don’t expect to ever learn all the things I want to learn, but I know that even when I’m in the latter season of my life, I’ll still have an insatiable appetite to keep learning until it’s my time to leave this Earth.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you live or how much land or experience you have. If you consider yourself a lifelong learner (who’s not afraid to get your hands dirty), then you have what it takes to be a homesteader too;)

Super pumped for tonight’s dinner of wild mushroom risotto and a celebratory glass of Chardonnay :)

What skill(s) do you want to learn next?
.
.
.
#wildmushrooms #mushrooms #chanterelles #foraging #wildfood #wildfoodlove
...

It’s November, and that means we’re about to head into cold and flu season (hello, some of us are already there 🙋🏻‍♀️)

Add in a global pandemic, and we could be in for a rough ride these next few months 🦠

I spent some time the other day whipping up a few homemade herbal remedies that we’ll be relying on all winter long to help boost our immunity and keep our whole family as healthy as possible. I thought you might like to join me in my kitchen as I show you how easy it is to make your own herbal medicine at home, and talk more about how we stay healthy the all-natural way (and how you can too!

More specifically, I’ll be showing you how to make your own elderberry syrup, rose hip syrup and fire cider with simple ingredients and directions that anyone can recreate. (Seriously, no special skills are required to become your own live-in natural medicine pharmacist;)

Head on over and click the link in my profile or go to https://youtu.be/Rli1LqxHbg8 to check out the full video and start stocking your natural home medicine cabinet before it’s too late!

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead
...

I remember the distinct taste of the cherry-flavoured medicine I used to take when I got sick as a kid. I also remember the weird chemical aftertaste it left in my mouth (because the “natural” cherry flavour is really just added to cough syrups to mask the taste of the synthetic drugs they contain.)

Contrast that with the smooth, natural flavour of homemade elderberry syrup, made with organic elderberries, fresh ginger, lemon, cinnamon, cloves and raw honey, and the difference is like night and day! I would even put this stuff on my pancakes (and technically I could). That’s definitely a no-no for the cherry-flavoured pharmaceuticals.

But not only does homemade elderberry syrup taste better than the OTC (over-the-counter) stuff, it WORKS just as well to relieve cold and flu symptoms too! Actually, it might even work better!!

This is because, if used regularly, elderberry syrup can help you to stay healthy by building up your immunity and warding off illness in the first place, and if you do get sick, the antiviral, anti microbial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties in this elderberry syrup recipe will help you feel better and support faster healing rather than just relieving symptoms.

Oh, and by making your own elderberry syrup at home instead of buying it by the bottle at your local health food store, you’ll also save yourself a buttload of money. (And that also helps to relieve a little suffering;)

To learn how to make your own all-natural elderberry syrup at home, click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-elderberry-syrup-recipe/ to get the full recipe!

P.S. It’s stupidly easy to make too, so no special skills are required to make your own batch;)
...

Just a reminder, there are only a few hours left to get your free Wellness Sampler Set from @planttherapy essential oils, which includes my very favourite Germ Fighter blend plus two more must-have oils to keep on hand this cold and flu season.

All you have to do is purchase the Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle by midnight tonight and you’ll not only get almost 95% off the entire bundle, you’ll also get this set of three 10ml. essential oils (a $22.95 value) completely free! (Just pay shipping).

Head over and click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to learn more and get your bundle and your FREE Wellness Sampler Set now!

(Seriously, do it. You’ll be glad you did;)
...

If there was ever a year to be more diligent about taking care of ourselves and our families during the winter months, this would probably be that year.

That's why my focus right now (and every year around this time) is on stocking my home medicine cabinet with germ-fighting essential oils and herbal remedies of all kinds. And it’s why I’ve been encouraging you to do the same!

But in order to use herbs and essential oils safely and effectively, you need to know HOW to use them safely and effectively.

As with anything, you can find a lot of free info online, but how much of that information can you really trust? Wouldn't it be even better to have your own little library of reliable natural remedies right at your fingertips - especially one that's been created and curated by trusted aromatherapists and herbalists?

Well look no further, because the Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle is back due to popular demand for the 5th year in a row!

Here's a quick breakdown of what's included in this year's bundle:

—> 17 eBooks with recipes for simple herbal remedies for cold and flu season, herbal teas for winter health, making your own spa products, DIY herbal gifts for men, essential oil DIYs for the home and much more.

—> 12 eCourses on how to make your own herbal preparations, use echinacea to ward off colds and flu during the winter months, create your own healthy, herbal sweets, increase your energy the all-natural way and more!

—> 6 printables and workbooks to help you plan your own herb garden, organize your essential oils, deepen your herbal knowledge and, you guessed it, more, more, more!

Best of all, you can get all 35 resources (valued at over $650) for just $37! But only for the next five days. After that this bundle goes back into the vault until next year.

If you wanna get your hands on this amazing library of resources, head on over to my profile and click the link in my bio to check it out.

Plus, if you order your bundle by tomorrow night, you’ll also get a free set of three essential oils from @planttherapy (the only brand of essential oils I use in our home).

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to get yours or learn more!
...

Lest we forget.

Democracy is fragile. We must never become complacent or take it for granted.

Remembering all those who fought and continue to fight for our freedom today.
...

🌿 It’s no big news that we’re headed into what could be a particularly bad cold and flu season this year.

Between COVID cases going up along with our stress levels about everything that 2020 has brought with it, we would all be wise to practice a little more self care right now, which includes getting our stress levels under control, eating healthy, drinking lots of water, getting adequate sleep and boosting our immunity and overall health naturally.

To help with this, we turn to herbs and essential oils in addition to practicing a healthy, natural lifestyle. And you’ll often find me on here encouraging you to do the same.

Natural medicine, when used correctly, helps to support all of the organs and functions of our body so that we are less susceptible to sickness and disease should it get in our bodies. While it can be used for acute conditions, it’s best when used preventatively, so if you haven’t yet, now is the time to start whipping up some homemade herbal remedies to start using before we get too deep into the season, and to have on hand if and when illness strikes.

My affiliate partners @ultimate_bundles put together an eBook with 54 herbal (and oily) recipes that you can easily make at home to help boost immunity, treat illness, promote sleep and relaxation, improve complexion and keep dangerous synthetic chemicals out of your home and body.

It’s totally free to grab it right now but it’s only available for free until tonight at midnight.

👉 Grab your copy by clicking the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead.

And if you’re also looking for some new essential oils to add to your home apothecary, remember to use coupon code HOME15 on your next @planttherapy order to get 15% off your entire order (only until the end of November).

Take care of yourselves and stay well everybody! ❤️
.
.
.
#herbalmedicine #selfcare #naturalmedicine #herbs #aromatherapy #allnatural
...

Only a few hours left to get your hands on all the freebies on offer at the Handmade Holiday Gift Mall, including my full video tutorial on how to make your own scented soy wax candles (always a hit at Christmas time:)

Plus, for a limited time only, use code HOME15 at planttherapy.com to get 15% off your order of essential oils to use in your homemade candles!

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to get your hands on all the goodies now!
...

My heart is so full right now. I’m sitting here crying happy tears as I watch history unfold. Such a breath of fresh air after the past four years.

I’m feeling hopeful for the future of our planet, our people and democracy all around the world for the first time in a long time.

Feeling so proud to call America my neighbour tonight. There’s still a very long road ahead to heal the deep divides and wounds of the past, but I’m confident we have what it takes to turn this ship around and ensure a long and prosperous future together. All of us.

Now let’s all get to work and get those borders open again soon!

Congratulations USA!!! 🇨🇦❤️🇺🇸
...

As we come closer to wrapping up the year that was 2020, I've started to reflect on the lessons I've learned. I distilled it down to 6 humbling life lessons that 2020 has taught me or reinforced in my life about gardening, homesteading and life, and I'm sharing them with you today in hopes that they might help you put this year in perspective too:

—> Lesson #1: We cannot control everything (and that's okay)
—> Lesson #2: Always diversify (crops, income streams, skills, etc.)
—> Lesson #3: Be grateful for the good (we cannot have the good without the bad)
—> Lesson #4: Hope for the best but prepare for the worst (stay positive but be realistic)
—> Lesson #5: Every failure is an opportunity to learn and grow (seek to find the lessons)
—> Lesson #6: There's always next year (one ending is just another beginning)

Join me for a heart-to-heart in the garden as I take one major disappointment (tossing a box of homegrown tomatoes in the compost) and make the best of it by using it as a catalyst to reflect on the year and the growing season and find the lessons and meaning behind it all.

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to watch the full video or go to https://youtu.be/XnnbsAqrd5A and let me know what hardships or disappointments YOU'VE overcome and what lessons you've learned this year in the comments.

Remember, we’re all in this together 🖤
.
.
.
#2020 #lifelessons #nosuchthingasfailure
...

© The House & Homestead | All Rights Reserved | Legal

Crafted with ♥ by Inscape Designs