The Q&A Archives: Saving Seed

Question: I am interested in learning how to collect seeds from heirloom vegetables and flowers and how to best store them. I would appreciate information particularly on vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Also, when is the best time to collect various seeds? <br>Thank you so much!! I love to garden!!!!!

Answer: Have I got a book for you! "Seed to Seed", by Suzanne Ashworth, published by Seed Savers Exchange, is a great reference for saving all sorts of vegetable seed. It is available from The Seeds Savers Exchange, ph# 319-382-5990; address 3076 N. WinnRd., Decorah, IA 52101.<br><br>Members of the Brassica family--which includes the vegetables you mention--can be difficult to save because they readily cross-pollinate one another. These plants are pollinated by insects. If they do cross-pollinate, then you save and grow out the resulting seed, the plant may be a strange mix of the two species. To ensure seed purity, you need to somehow isolate the plants so they can't cross-pollinate. In fact, it is recommended to isolate different varieties by growing them at least 1/2 mile apart! <br><br>You can always play around with it, and see what you get, but to do it properly and predictably, you'll need to prevent cross-pollination. You can also do this by "caging", or covering the plants with a row cover on alternate days. <br><br>Don't get discouraged. It's not impossible, and if you're doing it for fun you can try different things. Also, many flowers are easier to save seed from.<br><br>I recommend you get the book mentioned above for all the details. (By the way, I love gardening too!)<br><br><br><br><br>

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