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Thoughts on saving your own seeds

Posted Saturday, May 14, 2011, at 10:13 AM

Not my tomatoes or at least not yet.
After all the discussion of seeds last night at our garden club, we developed a concept that I am sure has been developed beyond what we are thinking, but we are not immediately aware of such.

We noted how strong "volunteers" coming up the next season are compared to our newly planted seeds. Has anyone else noticed that?

We were hypothesizing that this could be the result of several factors.

1. The seed was generated by a plant living in OUR soil and OUR environment.

2. It went through Nature's selection process by overwintering in the garden and therefore the hardiest of seeds.

3. It germinates the next season when Nature says to germinate

4. Even more natural "weeding out" of the weaker plants not able to take the swings in weather for that environment and the resulting plants have been hardened off naturally

Any other ideas why "volunteer" plants seem hardier than others?

This does not always apply to hybrids. The resulting seed might not come back true to form (probably won't) and that variety may not be good in your garden at all.

Has anyone noticed if seed they extract from a plant grown in their garden comes back stronger than the original?

Is it weaker, or about the same?

Most of my tomatoes from seed packet or store bought plants do not do that well in my gardens. Certainly not like I remember in my parents garden and I can not remember if Dad saved seeds.

Does anyone have some experiences they could share with us?

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With the cost of food like it is and going up steadily, saving your seeds may be the only way to eat the same foods in the next few years to come.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Wed, May 25, 2011, at 11:04 AM

One facet most people dont bother looking at is cloning the 'volunteer' hearty plants.

Cloning is very easy to do and used by a lot of people in the nursery business.

-- Posted by BobM on Wed, May 25, 2011, at 11:54 AM

BobM, I have mixed feelings about the process you are describing but that does not mean I am not curious. Do you happen to know any links to learn more?

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 6:16 AM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.