Pictured above are leek seeds that will be harvested in the near future. Honeybees love to get the pollen out of the seed. PHOTO SUBMITTED
Norma Jean Worden-Rogers
Saving the seeds that come from your garden should be an integral part of your gardening experience. The seeds that you harvest from your gardens will be adapted to the specific growing conditions of the region that they are grown in. Saving seeds costs nothing at all, and you will be self sufficient in the next year and won't have to buy new seeds. Harvesting your seeds will make you pay more attention to your veggies; there is a short window of time that seeds can be harvested so you will be very in tune with the growing schedule of the individual plant.
How do you know when your seeds are ready to be harvested? Look for bolting, dried pods, and keep a close eye on the rotting fruit. Bolting happens as temperatures get warmer, greens tend to ‘bolt’. The ‘bolt’ or ‘shoot’ that comes up and flowers is how the greens spread their seed in preparation to grow the next year This happens with arugula, kale, lettuce, or any other green. Once the petals from the flowers fall off you can harvest the seed. Store in an airtight container and keep for next years use.
Pods are protective casings that keep the seeds intact, and you don't have to worry about the wind dislodging the seeds. Peas and beans have very large pods and you know that they are ready to be harvested when they are dried on the vine. Pick the pods, crack them open and take the seeds out! Mustard greens have a similar way of producing pods except they are long and narrow. Again, ensure that the pods are dried out and then crack them open to harvest the seeds.
Tomatoes and peppers are a bit more difficult to save seeds from. Allow the peppers and tomatoes to fall off of the plant. Take the seedy parts of the veggies out, add water, and try to separate all of the goop from the seed. After some stirring the seeds will fall to the bottom of the glass. Dispose of the 'goop' and dry the seeds in a mesh bag. Ensure that the seeds are completely dry before putting them in a jar and using the next year!
Saving seed is a great way to ensure that you are planting vegetables that will do well in your climate, will promote sustainability, and is a really fun way to keep your garden going! If you have any questions about harvesting seeds or other garden related questions, send us an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org!"
– Community Garden Tour – Monday, Aug. 25, 2-4 p.m. – In partnership with the Town of Sackville, we are offering garden tours! Come visit the community garden, taste the jams and pickles that we've made during our weekly workshops and see what we're all about. Tours will be given on the half hour, so come check out our gardens!
– Canning 101 – Wednesday, Aug. 27, 1-4 p.m. at Open Sky Co-op – Come learn how to can your veggies with us - this is the last workshop in the food preservation series! Please let us know if you're coming to this free workshop.
– Season finale potluck – Saturday, Aug. 30, 6-8 p.m. – Let's celebrate our harvest and have a potluck to celebrate! Everyone is invited and welcome to come to the garden to enjoy our harvest.