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Growing for Seed Saving Garden

Posted by MadHacktress 5b-6a ( on
Mon, Oct 7, 13 at 11:13

Okay, I hope this is the right place for this, I haven't posted to this forum very often, but I've been reading for years.

In the past I've saved seeds from the easy-to-save group of vegetables, tomatoes, lettuce, beans, etc., but now I want to start growing out seeds for my own use from more difficult-to-save vegetables. I am thinking that it would be easier to just create and maintain a second garden on the property about 1500 feet away, and across a rather dense vein of trees, from my main garden, in which to grow the seed-plants. I know there are ways to grow out and save seeds in my main garden (which is about a quarter of an acre); but this year I grew about 120 different varieties of vegetables, and it just seems overwhelming to attempt to save seeds from them all, or even any significant percentage of them.

But with a separate garden I figured I could grow out a variety of each vegetable and collect and save seeds from them, rotating varieties each year.

What I'm looking for is insight on whether or not this is something that people have done, and whether they've succeeded, any/or whatever tips or hints or whatever else could be offered. I figured that if I made up a garden around 40' x 50' that would give me enough space to grow out a good population of each type of vegetable for seed saving; but if anyone has any warnings or suggestions I'd be more then happy to hear them.

I apologize for my longwindedness.

Follow-Up Postings:

A clarification question for you

Hi, MadHacktress. I can understand being overwhelmed trying to save seeds from 120 varieties! A clarification, if you don't mind... What would be the difference between selecting some varities to grow in the secondary garden for seeds versus alternately selecting a small number of varieties to save seeds (the ones you would grow in the secondary garden) from the plants in the main garden?

RE: Growing for Seed Saving Garden

  • Posted by ZachS z5 Littleton, CO (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 25, 14 at 15:14

If you have the room and the time I'd say go for it. Some definite pros I personally see is that some vegetables, like lettuce, onions and cabbage we like to harvest before they bolt. After they do so, we tend to use them only for their seeds. By having separate gardens you can harvest all the vegetables from your main garden to use as food and not have to leave any for collecting seeds. Also, you can definitely maintain purity better with space and buffers.

Some plants you will probably have to do a little bit more preventative measures even with the distance (such as corn whose pollen can blow for miles and miles and miles and.....), but I think for the most part it will make it easier if saving 100% genetically pure seed is a concern.

That being said, I would not take up space in your seed garden with crops that do not tend to cross anyways. Beans (P. vulgaris cultivars especially) and peas being the most glaring example. But if you are growing different cultivars of corn or squash for example, a seed garden would help immensely IMO.

RE: Growing for Seed Saving Garden

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 30, 14 at 17:36

but now I want to start growing out seeds for my own use from more difficult-to-save vegetables

I'm just curious as to what vegetables you think are difficult-to-save? Have been a seed saver for over 40 years and never found any garden vegetable that was "difficult". Corn is the only thing that comes to mind that requires any special effort.

And why would it take a whole garden to produce enough seeds to save for future personal use when most plants produce more than enough seeds for several years?


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