More and more amateur gardeners are experiencing a real craze for the production of their seeds according to the principle of permaculture. Whether this wish is dictated by an economic concern or simply by the desire to have seeds with great potential, it is in any case an excellent solution to have the guarantee of good harvests. Let’s take a look at the benefits you can get from growing your own seeds from plants in your home garden. Let’s also see what is the difference between harvesting the seeds to be sown and producing them using manual pollination, a method that is certainly delicate but that any gardener can learn to apply to obtain good quality seeds that will not have to be ashamed of those Trade.
Producing your seeds for the vegetable garden: what’s the point?
When you are passionate about nature, you can glean all kinds of seeds in order to multiply the plant species in your garden, just for the pleasure. But let’s face it, producing them yourself is even more captivating. It is also (and especially for some people) for make great savings. This avoids buying the seeds, because the note can be salty when you want to sow a lot of plants. And producing your own seeds allows you to harvest in abundance because they are necessarily adapted to the climate and the local environment. In the past, this is how you fed your family in complete autonomy thanks to the good vegetables from the garden from seeds that you produced yourself.
By recovering one’s own seeds, at most one must buy a soil for seedlings. But it is not mandatory since you can prepare it yourself with 4 volumes of good garden soil, as much ripe green waste and 2 volumes of sand. As for the various biodegradable cups, there is no need to buy them since all you have to do is play the recycling card to have a good quantity. We can’t even imagine how many cardboard egg boxes we throw away each year when they are ideal for seedlings!
So that’s something to encourage potential refractory to the home production of seeds intended for the vegetable garden: it’s ultra economical, it gives happiness and at harvest time, we feel a great sense of pride.
Collecting your own seeds in the vegetable garden: waiting for seeds to germinate
Before looking at the best way to produce its seeds, it is necessary to learn how plants can spread naturally. For this, they must have time to produce their seeds. This involves letting the flowering bloom and therefore, do not cut faded flowers. Without flowers, there are no seeds… However, the seeds are none other than the embryos of plants and, depending on the species, they are carried by the fruits, the achenes or even by the capsules, for example, which appear after flowering.
As for the season which best lends itself to the harvesting of seeds, it is thefall since it is at this time of the year that the majority of plants “go to seed” according to the established expression.
You have to choose the best time to harvest the seeds. For fruits, they must be fully ripe and have changed color. As for the capsules, they turned brownish and dried out. These are all signs that the time is right for harvesting seeds.
But be careful, depending on the species, the seeds are released and disseminated in nature by the wind and/or animals. Some seeds are provided with bristles or pappus, that is to say extremely light tufted pappus, which guarantees their dissemination by the slightest breath of wind or by any other means. This is among others the case of meadow salsify nicknamed goat’s beard and dandelion.
If one wishes intervene before the plant forms its seeds on its own et avoid the risk of hybridizationit is necessary to know how the manual pollination takes place allowing the gardener to produce the seed.
Producing seeds in the vegetable garden: manual pollination
Patience is essential when making a selection because to reap the fruit of your efforts, it is essential to use healthy plants, very productive, resistant to local conditionsand not to plant another variety in the immediate vicinity if one wishes to preserve the purity of a line.
At the beginning, it is better to start with a small quantity of seeds, just to practice, and opting for those that are easy to produce. In this category, the pumpkin seeds are the best example, hand pollination being within everyone’s reach. This, of course, means starting by growing squash in the vegetable garden and setting aside a few plants for reproduction. Here’s how.
- Identify the male flowers and the female flowers, both growing on the same plant in squashes, but it is better to choose different plants provided they belong to the same species. Here’s how to recognize flowers:
- The female flowers have a visible ovary at the base of their corolla,
- The male flowers are the long-stemmed ones and are located under the squash leaves.
- Select only those that are about to open.
- Put an adhesive kraft at their end in order to bind them.
- Wait until the next day.
- Proceed to picking ligated male flowers and, in order to release the stamens, very gently remove the adhesive tape and then the petals one by one.
- Remove a female flower among those selected the day before from its adhesive ligature. Don’t pick it. She must open if she is ready to be fertilized. If it remains closed, another one must be chosen.
- Approach a male flower to a female flower in order to be able to rub the stamens which carry pollen (male flower) against the pistil (female flower).
- All that remains is to place a new ligature in order to close the female flower as soon as hand pollination is complete.
Nature will take its course: after some time, the flower will wither and a fruit will form. It will be enough to harvest it at maturity and collect the seeds. In the case of squash, it is necessary to wash the seeds so that there is no pulp left and then let them dry on a cloth until they become brittle. This can take a good fortnight.
Storing your production of seeds from the vegetable garden: rigor and organization
After having acquired sufficient experience, the gardener can thus produce the seeds of different species of plants in the vegetable garden. Once harvesting of the various seeds is complete, to avoid a mess at planting time, it is essential to keep them in small paper bags or envelopes for large seeds and in small bottles for very small seeds. It remains to write on each container the name of the plant, the variety, as well as the date of harvest and why not the period when sowing should be carried out.
Failing to produce seeds from plants in the garden, you can turn to seed banks, seed companies, seed exchanges or ask friends and neighbors for seeds. This makes it possible to grow other species and varieties of vegetables in the vegetable garden without having to manage manual pollination yourself. It’s a choice.