Vegetables and Fruit forum: Which seeds can I save in my small vegetable garden?

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Name: Ed
Crenshaw County, South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias
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Intheswamp
Jun 8, 2017 9:13 AM CST
Some of you know that I'm starting up a new garden. I've had small gardens in the distant past, but they were sporadic and I would refer to myself as a rookie gardener.

I wish to begin saving seed to tailor the plants to my garden/climate/etc.,. Below is a list of what I currently have in my garden. These are for the summer garden and I have other vegetables I'll be growing for cooler times. For now I'm interested in finding out about these plants...

Wilson Sweet watermelon
Hales Best cantaloupe
Yellow Crookneck squash
Ashley slicing cucumber
Mortgage Lifter, Brandywine, Brandywine Red, and Roma VF tomatoes
Zipper Cream southern peas
Clemson Spineless Okra
Bell peppers (transplants bought at Walmart..probably hybrids, don't have information on them)

I think the last four, the peas, okra, and tomatoes, are all safe in regards to cross-pollination (the peppers I'm not concerned about). The top four, though, I am concerned with...watermelon, cantaloupe, squash, and cucumber. Will I be able to save seeds from these without getting a Frankenstein-vegetable from the seed? Blinking

Thanks for your help!
Ed
South Alabama - 8a/8b
The Enchanted Land of Humidity
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Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
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Gymgirl
Jun 8, 2017 9:49 AM CST
Mortgage Lifter, Brandywine, Brandywine Red, and Roma VF tomatoes
Zipper Cream southern peas
Clemson Spineless Okra

Here's my tutorial on saving seeds from bona fide HEIRLOOM tomatoes. Keep in mind, there are any number of seed-saving tutorials available online. I use this because I have a small garden too, and don't need to save a gazillion seeds, except when I'm starting seedlings for sale to others. This is a quick and EZ method for saving just a few...

The thread "seed saving - 201" in Vegetables and Fruit forum

You can leave some of the Zipper Cream pea pods on the plant to dry out. Once they do, you can harvest the seeds and use them for your next crop.

Same thing with the Okra seeds. Let the pods dry out, then put them into a paper bag. Break them open, and use them for your next crop. Just make sure they're completely dried out.

Hope this helps you out! I tip my hat to you.
[Last edited by Gymgirl - Jun 8, 2017 9:52 AM (+)]
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Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Jun 8, 2017 11:07 AM CST
I've had "Frankenstien" squash, but they were winter squash.

I've tried to save seed from those yellow crookneck, but I musta not dun it right, as none germinated.

I've never personally seen Frankenstien cukes, watermelons, or cantelopes.... Although.... When I planted out seeds from a store bought cantelope, I got like 4 different varieties from the same seeds!
Not a bad thing.... To my way of thinking.

Tomatoes and peas are supposed to be self-fertile, and out-cross with difficulty, so... Shouldn't be an issue.

Those hybrid peppers?
I replant them all the time, with no obvious indications of anything being different from the parent fruit.

Re seed saving from tomatoes...
I have an easier way than Gymgirl's method....
I put the tomato in a bowl or whatever, and leave it in the dedicated seed-fridge until time to plant.
I put the dried up fruit on top of a pot of soil at planting time. (spending several months in the fridge dries up the mater) the seeds come up fine.
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
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Phenolic
Jun 8, 2017 11:33 AM CST
stone said:Re seed saving from tomatoes...
I have an easier way than Gymgirl's method....
I put the tomato in a bowl or whatever, and leave it in the dedicated seed-fridge until time to plant.
I put the dried up fruit on top of a pot of soil at planting time. (spending several months in the fridge dries up the mater) the seeds come up fine.


Do you ever get problems with seedling overcrowding or moulding with your method?
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Jun 8, 2017 11:49 AM CST
I don't, but.... I'm planting in a large nursery pot... Like 5 gallons... And... It's usually outside.
Even starting seeds in the winter, most of the time I can leave them outdoors.
We don't get much frost here... (thankfully)

So... With the good airflow, Im not subject to those indoor poor drainage issues...
Did I mention.... I fill the pot with the sand that I have out in the garden?
Good drainage, good airflow... The total secret to successful seed starting.

Re
Overcrowding...

When I set the babies out in the garden....
I usually do it in multiple stages.
I set the large pot of crowded seedlings out... (out of the pot, into the sand).
After large enough to handle, I dig back up, separate the seedlings.... And pot up individually in gallon nursery pots.... To get a bit larger.... And then they get planted in their final resting spot.
[Last edited by stone - Jun 8, 2017 11:54 AM (+)]
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Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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farmerdill
Jun 8, 2017 1:00 PM CST
Since you only have a single variety of each, your only chance of cross pollination will come from a neighbor planting a different variety. You will have to let a squash and a cucumber ripen before the seeds are viable. The squash will get dry like a gourd, when dry just split and shake out the seeds. The cucumber will get big and yellow when ripe. Watermelon, Cantaloupe, squash, cucumber are all insect pollinated, so the possibility of an insect bring pollen from a neighbor is fairly high. On the other hand if you are in an isolated area, no worries.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
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Weedwhacker
Jun 10, 2017 7:35 PM CST
I agree with Farmerdill -- there are a lot of things that you can't save seeds from at the time you would normally pick them to use. They need to go way past the eating stage before the seeds will be viable to plant.

But, watermelon, cucumber, cantaloupe and squash won't likely cross among one another. The cukes and cantaloupes are the most closely related, being Cucumis melo and Cucumis sativus, but are different species. The others belong to entirely different genera.
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Name: Ed
Crenshaw County, South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias
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Intheswamp
Jun 12, 2017 7:29 AM CST
Ok, so I don't have to worry about the different vegetables crossing...no Ashley's Best cantaloupes or Hale's Slicing cucumbers, eh? Basically what I have to watch out for is growing non-self-pollinating plants of the same species but different varieties...more than one variety of watermelons, one of cucumbers, one of squash, one of carrots, etc.,.? Tomatoes and peas/beans appear to be self-pollinating so more than one variety is ok...? Is that kinda, sorta right? I just didn't want take a bite of watermelon that tasted like crooked neck squash. ;) I think the crossing of *varieties* is what I've been worried about...and the term "variety" had been eluding me. Thanks farmerdill for getting me on that track! (I tend to get derailed easily Smiling )

I'm not sure if my closest neighbor has a garden or not. I kinda think not. But, if they do it's about 1/8th mile from me. The next closest would probably be 1/2 mile or further. Not far enough for "pure" seeds, but it sounds definitely far enough for "home garden" saved seeds. :)
South Alabama - 8a/8b
The Enchanted Land of Humidity
www.beeweather.com
2017 Garden Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1zSVfK
“It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.”
― Rod Serling
Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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farmerdill
Jun 12, 2017 7:45 AM CST
Sounds like you have it down. Variety is the common term for cultivar. A plant within a given species that exhibits unique characteristics sort of like if you grew the varieties Wilson Sweet and Orangeglo. different characteristics but same species so they will cross. Only effects seed saving tho.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
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RickCorey
Jun 14, 2017 4:55 PM CST
This is my favorite online guide to seed saving. Concise, but full of details, not just hot air.
Targeted at home gardeners, and mentions the difference between "good enough to sow" and "collector/preservationist/scientist seed savers"

http://www.seedambassadors.org...

Consider: if the cross-pollination rate is 1/2%, and you plant fewer than 100 plants, you will probably see NO cross-pollinated plants in the F2 generation.

And people who buy commercial seeds, still see rouges.

Maintaining a cultivar strain "pure" is more about rouging out the mutants, crossers and ugly recombinants than it is about "no grain of pollen shall EVER ..."

And think about genetic drift due to environmental conditions. After a few generations regrown in one spot, everything is a "selectivar" anyway.

Name: Ed
Crenshaw County, South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias
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Intheswamp
Jun 15, 2017 6:19 AM CST
Hey, thanks for the link to that paper!!! After a brief glance, I think that will be very helpful!!

Rick, some good points you've made. Since I'm wanting to grow plants that will "tune in" to my very local environment I may or may not maintain a "pure" variety, eh? That's ok, though, as long as I get some seed that produces plants that produce better in my local environment...soil, weather, insects, etc.,. If I can get some good seed going I'll enjoy the fruits of my labor as long as I can...otherwise, I'll enjoy the ride, whatever it may bring. Smiling

"Selectivar", nice word....yeah, that's probably what I'm looking for. Thumbs up
South Alabama - 8a/8b
The Enchanted Land of Humidity
www.beeweather.com
2017 Garden Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1zSVfK
“It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.”
― Rod Serling
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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Newyorkrita
Jun 15, 2017 12:15 PM CST
That is how some of these well know strains of a certain variety got to be. Seed saving and selecting in a closed environment. As in Brandywine tomatoes. There are quite a few various strains of Brandywine. They are all Brandywines but have their differences.

Our host here Dave W has a killer selection of Kellogg's Breakfast that he grows and has been selection for numerous generations.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 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.
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RickCorey
Jun 15, 2017 8:24 PM CST
Intheswamp said:... Since I'm wanting to grow plants that will "tune in" to my very local environment I may or may not maintain a "pure" variety, eh? That's ok, though, as long as I get some seed that produces plants that produce better in my local environment...soil, weather, insects, etc.,. ...


Excellent, in my opinion! Have you read any of what NGA member @Joseph writes about starting with the MAXIMUM amount of genetic variety, and then letting them cross promiscuously in his field. His key practice is severely weeding out failures. His climate is pretty extreme, so 80-95% of normal seeds won't sprout or will die before harvest-able.

Ahh, but that OTHER 5-20%!

Next year's seed comes from random pollination among last year's survivors.

(Mixed with some seeds from 2, 4, 7 and 12 years ago (I'm just making up numbers). That preserves genes that might otherwise get lost, but that assure SOME survivors when the climate and pests are no0t only severe, but DIFFERENT from their normal severity.)

He tried to develop a strain of something that NEVER would grow to maturity in his climate (maybe cantaloupes? some squash?)

The first year, he only got a few % of what he sowed to survive and make seeds.
Next year, he got a small harvest of less-than-ideal plants.
The year after that, his fruits were a huge success at his farmer's market.
And they kept improving.

If an entire culture, like the Mayans, do that for thousands of years, they get a "landrace" that is very well-adapted to their climate, but still the same species. The difference is in gene RATIOS of the whole population.

What Joseph and you (and I, eventually) are creating is like a mini-landrace. I also like the name "selectivar", because even if you TRY to avoid genetic drift, a population of things things grown in only one place tend to adapt to that place.

I suspect that professional seed companies maintain strains at a few locations with differing climates, and periodically combine seeds to keep the ratios of the whole population adapted to MANY regions. If they don't, my belief is that THEIR sub-strain of that variety necessarily drifts away from other vendors' strains of that variety.
Name: Ed
Crenshaw County, South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias
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Intheswamp
Jun 15, 2017 8:59 PM CST
Newyorkrita said:That is how some of these well know strains of a certain variety got to be. Seed saving and selecting in a closed environment. As in Brandywine tomatoes. There are quite a few various strains of Brandywine. They are all Brandywines but have their differences.

Our host here Dave W has a killer selection of Kellogg's Breakfast that he grows and has been selection for numerous generations.

I'm interested in settling on a couple of tomato varieties for my hot, humid climate. I'm starting out with Mortgage Lifter and Brandywine (pink and red). Who knows...I may end up with a Faith Hill Brandywine (Faith Hill is a very, very small community that I live in...*very* small ;) ). Arkansas Traveler is on the radar for next year, maybe. Or, maybe the ML and BW varieties will work out great and they'll be permanent residents. It would/will be interesting to watch how they adapt to the garden.

Do you know what region/area Dave W is in? It sounds like he's got some seasons invested in those Kelloughs Breakfasts.
South Alabama - 8a/8b
The Enchanted Land of Humidity
www.beeweather.com
2017 Garden Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1zSVfK
“It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.”
― Rod Serling
Name: Ed
Crenshaw County, South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias
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Intheswamp
Jun 15, 2017 9:15 PM CST
Rick, yes, I've read through *several* articles by Joseph. Very interesting information. He is definitely dedicated!!! The idea of landrace plants is intriguing. I'll have to let my landrace be a "just happened that way" plant. Smiling His environment is definitely a hostile one for gardening and his story of his cantaloupe search was very interesting. It would really be interesting to plant a plot of many varieties of something and just sit back and see what grows, what dies, and what produces. Who knows, I might try that one season...maybe try cantaloupes. ;)

My idea is to try a few varieties, pick the fittest of the fit best producers and save the seed, rinse, repeat.
South Alabama - 8a/8b
The Enchanted Land of Humidity
www.beeweather.com
2017 Garden Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1zSVfK
“It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.”
― Rod Serling
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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Newyorkrita
Jun 16, 2017 9:26 AM CST
Intheswamp said:
I'm interested in settling on a couple of tomato varieties for my hot, humid climate. I'm starting out with Mortgage Lifter and Brandywine (pink and red). Who knows...I may end up with a Faith Hill Brandywine (Faith Hill is a very, very small community that I live in...*very* small ;) ). Arkansas Traveler is on the radar for next year, maybe. Or, maybe the ML and BW varieties will work out great and they'll be permanent residents. It would/will be interesting to watch how they adapt to the garden.

Do you know what region/area Dave W is in? It sounds like he's got some seasons invested in those Kelloughs Breakfasts.


Dave is in Texas.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 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.
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RickCorey
Jun 16, 2017 11:47 AM CST
Ed, I think your approach is the most practical one if you don't want to totally devote your life to the project.

I'm pretty sure that it was thousands of years of doing exactly that, that gave us "crops" instead of "wild plants". Until the 1800s and Gregor Mendel, what else was there?

I've read that one of the key techniques is watching a VERY LARGE number of plants for desirable rouges. That way you can extract and multiply a favorable mutation or assortment as soon as it occurs in one plant.

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