Perhaps you’ve experienced the frustration of a cold, wet spring which kept you from planting much in the garden. Of course, when it’s warm enough to have success with most plants, it’s time to get moving. Hot weather comes plenty soon enough.
But think seed saving in the spring?? Why not in the fall? Here are a couple of key reasons.
First, ask yourself whether you’re planting open pollenated (heirloom) seeds or hybrids.
Seeds from open pollenated plants will produce identical plants next season when you plant those seeds. Hybrids will not.
That’s because they’re a cross between plants with differing characteristics. They can revert to traits that don’t match this year’s crop.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plant hybrid seeds. But the fact that they won’t reproduce identical plants next year is something you should be aware of. It’s one of the reasons the interest inheirloom seeds has been on the rise.
Another reason to think about seed saving in the spring is because some plant varieties will cross, and you may not want that to happen. Corn and squash are just a couple of examples.
Jackie Clay shares much more in the “Backwoods Home Magazine” article excerpted below from the May-June 2011 issue. The full article is a seed saving primer from a wise, experienced veteran gardener.
By Jackie Clay
I go through dozens of garden seed catalogs in preparation for each year’s new (and better!) garden. I have a lot of “old reliable” varieties that I grow year after year. They taste great, are hardy growers in our cool, Zone 3 climate, either store well (such as squash and carrots), or they can-up and dehydrate well. Many are open-pollinated varieties from which I save my own seed. But I still try new things in the garden. Some are the latest “bells and whistles” hybrids, often costing upwards of $5 a pack or more, others are very old heirloom varieties I’ve never tried before.
But one thing that strikes me hard is the steady and often shocking increase in the price of garden seeds. In a year of rocky economy, it seems like a whole lot of folks are going to be raising their own food. Several seed companies have already run out of catalogs, and the spring is yet young. I know we are getting very serious about our garden and are worried about the prospects of seed prices climbing even higher. So to fight that recurring expense, we’ve decided to again raise an increasing portion of our seed. After all, in the quest for a self-reliant lifestyle, the more a person produces what they use, the more sustainable life they will lead.
Read the whole article here:
Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine.
Jackie highly recommends the book Seed to Seed. If she uses it, you’ll want it in your survival library, too. Click on its title to order.
The fact that you should be thinking about seed saving in the spring demonstrates the need for a survival mindset. Not only is survival gardening thinking ahead, but it’s thinking ahead that gives your survival gardening an extra preparedness edge.