Flower Gardening Guide - Flower Gardening Help
Posted on Nov 9 2011 at 12:32:33 AM in House & Garden
Seed saved by the home gardener will probably he the result of random pollination by insects or other natural mechanisms. Random pollination results in seeds that produce plants that may not be identical to the parent plant. The seeds of hybrid cultivars should not be saved.
Some plants make excellent candidates for seed saving. Common self-pollinated, non-hybrid and purebred annual vegetable seeds that can be saved include lettuce, beans, peas, herbs and heirloom tomatoes.
Saving seed saves money. It allows the gardener to maintain varieties that are not sold commercially. Many avid seed savers belong to groups that exchange seed through networks. Some seed saver groups specialise in keeping heirloom varieties. Many heirloom varieties are the great-grandparent plants of modern cultivars.
It may be tempting to bring home seeds or plants seen on vacation in foreign countries. However, this is how many serious insect and disease pests are introduced. A nonnative plant may become a noxious weed. Follow all import regulations for horticultural materials,
It is important to save seed from healthy plants because some diseases can be carried in seeds. Commercially grown seed is protected from disease problems because it is produced under very strict conditions with frequent inspection.
Harvest seed just before fruit is fully ripe. For flowers with exposed seeds, place the seed stalk or flower head in a bag and store in a warm, dry location. Seed will fall into the bag when it is completely dry. The seed of pulpy fruits should be separated from the pulp, washed and thoroughly dried.
Once seeds are completely dry, place them in airtight storage containers marked with name and date saved. Store seeds at 40 degrees F with low humidity. The refrigerator provides these conditions. Seed of many plants can remain viable for up to 5 years if properly stored. However, it is best to use home' harvested seed during the following growing season. Some species of plants produce seeds that are short-lived.
These seeds must germinate immediately after they open or they lose their viability. Delphinium, onion and parsley are examples. Before planting, it is a good idea to check stored seed for its germination rate. Planting these seeds directly in the garden may be a waste of time and effort if germination rate is very . To check germination rate, place some of the seeds between paper towels that are kept constantly moist and between 65 and 70 degrees F. Check the seeds daily for germination. Li the germination rate is 7051. or less, consider buying new seed.
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