View Full Version : Preserving seeds for next year's garden/when to dump compost on garden?

Aug. 12, 2010, 06:34 PM
Anyone have experience preserving seeds? I'd like to save a few bucks (which I will spend on hay or at the tack shop) by saving this years seeds from my plants to use next year. Marigolds, snapdragons, squash, cucs...

Also, when I am I SUPPOSED to dump composted manure on my gardens. I tend to do just... whenever seems good.

Aug. 13, 2010, 04:15 AM
If it is thoroughly composted, any time is good.

Aug. 13, 2010, 01:09 PM
For annual flower seeds I just let the flowerheads dry naturally then shake the seeds into an envelope for next year.
If I'm really lazy I just cut down the seedheads in the Fall and toss in a plastic bag then leave that hanging in the garage for ventilation.
For perennials you don't have to do more than cut back the plant (or not) once all the seeds have dropped.

For veggies I 've successfully saved seeds from squash and have had garlic reseed itself from the scapes.
I even had a volunteer tomato plant from seeds that were in fruit left on the ground.

I spread compost in Spring after the pile has broken down all Winter.
Again: I'm lazy so I don't bother to turn it until then when I just switch the topmost layer for the bottom.

I also spread fresh stall cleanings - manure, hay, shavings - directly on the veggie & flowerbeds after everything dies back.
By Spring it has composted and just gets tilled in.

Aug. 13, 2010, 04:13 PM
For veggies I 've successfully saved seeds from squash and have had garlic reseed itself from the scapes.
I even had a volunteer tomato plant from seeds that were in fruit left on the ground.

For squash and beans, I'm pretty sure you just have to let the fruit mature (beans pods get big and dried) then harvest the seeds. Volunteer tomato plants are generally frowned upon when hybrids are involved as the seedling may not bear significant resemblance to the "parent".

I've read about saving tomato seeds with a process that involves squishing the pulp and seeds into a glass then letting it sit and get gross and moldy :eek: then rinsing and drying the seeds. Again, what you get from a hybrid tomato may not be what you're looking for.

Frankly, I'm too lazy for seed saving and I like to try new varieties so am willing to do my part to keep the seed companies in business.

Aug. 13, 2010, 04:29 PM
If you are seriously considering seed saving, you might want to purchase a book on it, it can get quite in depth. For example, cucumbers, melons and squash can all cross pollinate because they are of the same family (cucurbitaceae) so you have to go to great lengths to prevent this(they rely on insects to pollinate)--hand pollination, screen cages or taping flowers, timing of pollination and starting with heirloom seed.

I would recommend the book Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth to help you further. Good luck!

As for the manure, we just always add new to the beds each time we clean, or make new beds. We have found that our composted manure isn't as strong in nutrients than the fresh. Perhaps do a soil test to find out what is best for you area.

Aug. 13, 2010, 04:58 PM
well, the pumpkins I am growing from last year' s seeds are fine, and so are the spaghetti squash and acorn squash I am growing from last year's seed. The heirloom yellow tomatoes that volunteered are true to form. All these things were growing together in the garden last year, so I expect if they were going to cross polinate, they would have. However, everything looks as it should.

One year I had some "interesting" looking zuchini grown from the previous year's fruit, and I think they must've been hybrids to being with. They were normal looking enough in hsape, but they were odd colours- not the dark green, but all manner of yellow and striped guourds. They were edible though.

Start with heirloom ( not hybrid) veggies and I think that will help.

Adding manure can be done anytime except when the new seedlings are up. However, the easiest thing for me, is to clear off all the garbage and cultivate the soil in late fall after harvest is finished, and then deposit fresh manure a barrowful at a time, over the winter, to prevent weed growth. Then in spring, rototill the whole thing together and start planting.

I also use fresh stall cleanings, 6 inches thick on the weeds, to mulch around my squashes, which themselves grow in a pile of manure that accumulates over the winter, so is relatively fresh.

Around my trees, I put several barrowfuls of compost or fresh stall cleanings at this time of year, which keeps the weeds down and in preparation for the fall rains which will wash the nutrition down around the roots in preparation for next spring. By next summer, the shavings will have composted down and the weeds grown up and it will need doing agin.

Aug. 13, 2010, 06:44 PM
A lot of veggies are hybrids, and even if the seeds are fertile the "offspring" may not resemble the parents. :)

I've given up starting seeds--I just buy healthy teenage plants at the farmer's market in June, and I'm weeks ahead of the game, with no effort on my part, for a couple of bucks per plant. :yes:

I usually add compost spring and fall, but if it's really well aged, you can really do it any time.

Aug. 14, 2010, 09:29 AM
Thanks all so much for your replies! The marigolds are easy- it's pretty obvious when the flower dies and the head is full of seeds. But I have no clue with squash/cucs and snapdragons. I do have squash and cucs planted closely, so I might wait to try those for another year. I can never get anything to start from seed anyway- I do much better just buying the baby plants like JSwan.

I'm very good with my perenials and my houseplants (unless the cat eats them)- not sure why I am such a brownthumb about veggies!

Aug. 15, 2010, 10:09 AM
This season I bought seeds from Renee's Garden. No kidding, every single seed I started inside germinated. I ended up with over 30 tomato seedlings. The kitchen table got very crowded, but all in all it wasn't that hard.

DH built a couple of ingenious devices for me that allowed me to raise and lower grow lights over the seedlings. Heirloom tomato plants in So. Cal can go for as much $5 each; much cheaper to start by seed.

So far, I've put up 28 quarts of tomatoes, made a load of salsa, and am oven drying another load of tomatoes (just found out this am that my oven automatically shuts off after 12 hours, so we're on convection mode now).