Monday, 15 October 2012

Saving Seeds

It seems I have gardened all my life, and kept a vegetable garden for most of that time too.  I was bought up in a family where my mother was always pottering around the garden and as a child I would sneak out into the vegetable garden and hide behind the rows of peas and nibble away.

My grandparents lived on an acre of land in a small country town and they grew every kind of fruit tree and vine you can think of.  Grandma made all her own jams and relishes and preserved fruit each season to last them through until the next growing season.  I have memories of having very purple feet as I climbed the mulberry tree to snack away on delicious sweet mulberries.

Despite all my gardening and life experience, I've never had a lot of luck with raising seeds in trays because I let them dry out and they died, and while most of the ones planted directly in the garden sprouted and survived, others were carted away by the ants, so saving my own seeds was something I haven't done very much of in the past.  I had however given it some thought, read about others who recommend this practice and I knew it would save me money but I still favoured buying punets of seedlings.  I guess I'm a bit impatient and like to see results quickly.

However just recently I decided that this was an area of gardening that I needed to upskill myself in and like most things, when you put your mind to it, finally success is mine!

These Marigold seedlings were raised from seed straight from the dried flower head in the garden bed and into the seed trays.  A few weeks later and they are now ready to go back into the vegetable beds as an insect deterrent.

These tomato plants sprung up out of the compost and I transplanted them straight into the garden and they are growing beautifully.  These are also the tomato plants that I am experimenting with trench planting in this post here.  I think they are doing very well.  I wonder what type of tomatoes they are?

I have also saved all these seeds from this years crop of Sweet Peas.  I am drying them and will try replanting them for next year.

This is a really good method of drying your tomato seeds.  I must admit I have tried this before and failed but with my new found confidence in seed raising I thought it was a good idea to have another go.  Never give up right?

You simply slice your tomatoes onto some paper towel and let them dry.  When you are ready to plant them you plant the seeds paper towel and all.  If you spread the seeds evenly along the paper when drying, the seedlings should shoot evenly spaced and you don't have to separate them out and possibly damage their delicate roots.

And while we are talking gardening I thought I would give you an update on the lettuce basket too.

It's only 3 1/2 weeks since planting but here it is looking fabulous and healthy and must be high enough that the bugs can't find it as I haven't used any of my home made sprays on it at all. Who wouldn't want to get one of these as a gift for Christmas?  The lettuce is just at the stage where I can now start to pick leaves for salads.  There are only 3 of us to cook for in our family now (well most nights) so one basket should be enough but I would recommend two baskets if you have a larger family.

So if you have ever been a bit reluctant to save your own seeds why not give it another go?  What have you got to lose except the opportunity to save some money on those store raised seedlings.



  1. My pumpkins were from seeds I saved last year. So I've started saving a few others. Maybe over the next several years I'll only be growing food from seeds that I saved... one can always hope. ;-)

    I'm excited about your tomatoes.

  2. the lettuce basket is a wonderful idea! i've got a hanging basket there empty that will be perfect for it. i have lots of self sown lettuces in my lawn that i harvest before mowing lol thanks for the inspiration!


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