Vegetables and Fruit forum: Saving Lettuce Seeds

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Name: Jessie Worsham
Stockbridge, GA (Zone 8a)
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
Daylilies Hostas Heucheras Cat Lover Echinacea Hybridizer
Irises Region: Georgia
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Jessie6162
Aug 4, 2016 12:48 PM CST
Hi all,
I just started veggie gardening this year, and I'm wondering if I can save some seeds to replant lettuce. I started with "Green Ice" lettuce seeds from Park Seed. We did not eat all the lettuce, and so I let some of it grow to see what it would do. It's really tall now, and looks like it's about to flower. I'm thinking I can harvest and re-sow the seeds in late summer or fall. Or maybe they need to be cold-stratified? Any suggestions or opinions welcome. I'm very new at this! Thanks in advance.
Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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farmerdill
Aug 4, 2016 1:25 PM CST
Just let the heads dry on the plant, shake out the seeds and you are ready to go. Lettuce will reseed itself under most circumstances so other than taking up space while maturing not much downside to saving seed.
Name: Jessie Worsham
Stockbridge, GA (Zone 8a)
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
Daylilies Hostas Heucheras Cat Lover Echinacea Hybridizer
Irises Region: Georgia
Image
Jessie6162
Aug 4, 2016 1:28 PM CST
Thanks Dillard!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Aug 9, 2016 5:29 PM CST
Lettuce, like many annuals, does not need cold-moist stratification or other elaborate dormancy-releasing steps. Just plant them in consistently moist cool soil. Cover very lightly, like 1/8th inch. Consider about 60 seeds per foot in a 2-4" wide band, but you may then have to thin them to a spacing of 8-12 inches depending on variety.

http://www.territorialseed.com/product/growingguide28

They will germinate much slower or not at all in warm soil! Soil temps as low as 40F are OK. Air temps may be 60-70F, but soil temps should be low for fast or complete lettuce germination.

One really nice thing about lettuce is that it is pretty much self-pollinating. That means that even if you have two lettuce varieties going to seed side-by-side, there will be very little or no cross-pollination.

Another nice thing about self-pollinators is that they don't need a large population size to stay vigorous if you save seeds for many generations. They are stable even if the population size is "one".

Many vegetables are "out-crossers" and need you to keep seeds from 30, 50 or 100 parents to keep the gene pool healthy and not too inbred over many generations. That is not a concern with self-pollinators like lettuce or tomatoes, and I THINK not beans or peas.

I think you can save seed even from out-crossers for a few years, without worrying about keeping dozens of parents. But you might have to go back to a seed vendor every few generations to get back to a vigorous gene pool.

Keep 'em dry! I hope you decide to share your saved seeds, and trade for other people's saved and commercial seeds!

http://garden.org/apps/swap/view/8/


Name: Jessie Worsham
Stockbridge, GA (Zone 8a)
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
Daylilies Hostas Heucheras Cat Lover Echinacea Hybridizer
Irises Region: Georgia
Image
Jessie6162
Aug 10, 2016 1:38 PM CST
Thanks Rick!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Aug 10, 2016 2:46 PM CST
I hope you come to future seed swaps with bulging Zip-Locs!
Name: Jessie Worsham
Stockbridge, GA (Zone 8a)
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
Daylilies Hostas Heucheras Cat Lover Echinacea Hybridizer
Irises Region: Georgia
Image
Jessie6162
Aug 10, 2016 2:53 PM CST
I hope to trade seeds in the future. I am pretty new to seed saving, so I'd hate to send someone seeds that are no good. I like to test them out first. For instance, last year I saved seeds from my Rudbeckia goldsturm, dried, refrigerated them, and tried to sprout them, but none sprouted. I'm sure I did something wrong... NGA is a great place to learn, so I will keep reading and soaking up all the information. I'll definitely check out the seed swap.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Aug 10, 2016 3:24 PM CST
No hurry!

But if you see some seeds you would like to request in a swap, often the entry requirements are very easy to meet. For example, DnD's swap only asks that you bring at least three packets to the swap, and that the grand average over the whole group exceeds 20 packets each.

(The return trip postage, say $7, is more of a barrier. I figure that I break even in a seed swap, compared to buying full-price commercial seeds, if I get more than 4-5 packets in return for my round-trip postage. Usually I bring home 20-100 packets. )

I've noticed in other seed swaps that people who are concerned that they "won't bring enough seeds" to their first swap are the very best people to recruit. Next year, they come back and offer tons!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Aug 10, 2016 3:26 PM CST
Thanks for the acorn! Thank You!

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