I'm a novice gardener, only two years experience with growing things. There's so much to learn! I've got some good books on perennials which have helped a lot. I've got three large mixed beds that I'm quite proud of - not large, but they work well. And I've done quite a bit with herbs.
Now I want to learn to save seeds from these gardens. Has anyone got some good book suggestions for someone at my stage? Much appreciated!
As far as I know there is no book on this subject in Europe. It might be that there is one in the USA.
The most important in seed saving is to let the seeds dry on the plant. And ofcourse there are exceptions, but in general that's the most important. You can always ask questions here for specific seeds.
How much of the book is about collecting and storing seed melody? The problem I find is that alot of books will only a small chapter on that and the rest is about germinating, seedlings etc. Not that that isn't all great stuff but I really want a book just on identifying, collecting and storing seed.
I do not have the book. It just had the most reviews attached to it in the Bookworm.
I do have the Suzanne Ashworth book 'Seed to Seed'
It is for vegetables and edibles, but is excellent as far as isolation distances, harvesting, storing and cleaning. My dog eared copy is well worn, but I'm an edibles grower, the ornamentals are left to pretty much fend for themselves at my house.
There are 43 books that fall in the 'growing from seed' category, most are obviously about the growing aspect of it, but there are a couple that have possibilities. Some booksellers have a feature where you can look inside and read excerpts. You might take a few of these titles and see what you can find.
Thanks for the link melody. DUH! I just checked my books and agertz I think 'Seed, Sowing and Saving' by Carol B. Turner is a good book for beginners. I have put a review in Bookworm. (I need to put in reviews for all my books but this winter's project is PF updates for me).
There is a scientist who wrote a book for professionals and experts about "how to use rate theory for biological processes."
Even though the purpose of his book has nothing to do with this thread, the thing is that I don't think there is a more comprehensive book about how to germinate seed, and the beauty of it is that he wrote it so that anyone can understand it.
Plus, he has been working on a follow-up book on how to store seed. I don't think this book is available yet, but it's certainly worth looking into. Until this book comes out, however, his first book, 2nd edition, includes lots of information on seed storage along with the info pertinent to germination in many of the plant entries. All of this information is based on experiments run by this scientist himself, and does not come from any 2nd-hand sources.
Soooo, here's the author and his address:
Norman C. Deno,
139 Lenor Drive,
His book (my germination/seed storage bible) -
Seed Germination Theory and Practice
by Norman C. Deno
which I obtained by sending him a $20 check at the above address.
There is a lot of technical stuff, and it's wonderful for stretching your mind and increasing knowledge of botany and understanding processes of germination and seed storage. But, all you need is the very last page which explains a few symbols and abbreviations he uses when giving his information that is so useful to seed germination and storage, plus the numerous alphabetized entries on plants themselves.
If you're doing any vegetable seed saving - Suzanne Ashworth's book 'Seed to Seed' has just about everything you need to know to get started with vegetable seed saving from how and when to harvest to what will cross pollinate with what. However, while it covers most vegetables in wonderful detail, it does only cover vegetables and doesn't address herbs or ornamentals.
If you're still looking for some good information, Saving Seeds by Marc Rogers could probably help quite a bit. It seems to cover all aspects: selecting, collecting, extraction and drying, storing, and testing. After that first part, it goes into more detail with both vegetables and flowers. I haven't had a chance to read the whole book, but it's fairly high up on my 'to-read list'. If you do decide to check it out, I'd be interested to hear what you think.
Happy growing! (and saving!!)
And if you have some time to skim through Weezingreen's "Seed Snatchin'" threads here on DG you are bound to learn a lot about how to collect seeds (at least I did) although there are about 10 different threads to go through! I especially liked her posts on what necessities to pack into your Seed Snatchin' kit that you keep in the car/truck for handy seed snatching.
Yes, any professional or very keen amateur with an interest in starting plants from seed, and in storing seed, should consider Deno's publications as absolutely essential information. (There is so much bad, utterly random, and totally unproven "advice" about starting and storing seeds out there, it really bugs me!! Can you tell? LOL!!)
bluespiral, in addition to Seed Germination Theory and Practice, 2nd Ed., Deno has also self-published two supplements which expand on species studied, germination techniques and seed storage. They are available directly from Dr. Deno, as bluespiral noted, and also from NARGS. Dr. Deno also occasionally publishes to the NARGS Rock Garden Quarterly on matters of seed starting and storage.
EDIT: By the way, the seed germination information at the Tom Clothier site is actually Dr. Deno's, according to what is said on the site...
Sorry it took so long for me to get back to this forum; my to-do list became a bit overwhelming.
The book Saving Seeds doesn't have pictures of each plant's seed and pods, but it gives enough to recognize the various family attributes. It also deals mainly with veggies with a smaller section at the back for flowers. The flowers are the ones that I always have issues with, really. And he doesn't go into deep detail with the drawings. It's more of a generalization.
All this being said, the book has definitely helped me to figure out if something is seed or chaff - I still get confused frequently but I'm thinking that's just genetics. lol
Let them mature and dry on the stem as long as possible.
Label them even before bringing them indoors.
If pods split as soon as seeds are matur4, check every day and-or bag the pods in old nylons or organza bags.
Get them REALLY dry before sealing them at all: on coffee filters or paper towels on top of newspapers, or paper plates, in envelopes. Dry for weeks in humid areas.
Maybe separate seeds from stems & chaff before storing, so you can get the seeds efven MORE dry. Shake seed heads or pods hard in a closed paper bag or tub. Mature seeds will rpobably fall oit.
If you can't figure which are seeds and which are chaff, save both until you have to germinate some on a coffee filter.
If you're going to trade them and have many varieties of the same species, either think about cross-polination issues, or label the trades "collected FROM XYZ variety" and mention before trading that you do have similar plants in the same yard. Many don't care, but the rest will want to know how likey they are to be "true" or cross polinated.
If you delight in botany and details, look up the variety you collected from to see if it is a hybrid, or an "OP" variety. "OP" varieties have been maintained pure so long that all the descendents will be very similar to the oarents, and may have enough history to count as "Heirlooms" with stories to tell. Hybrid strains may come out very variable and unlike the parnets, or pretty close. The seocnd and third genraltion from a hybrid starin are likely to come out progressively more different and less distinguished. But OP strains are forever, if you grow them a little separated from other varieties of the same speices.
It turns out that very few seed traders give Hybrids and cross-pollination a second thought, and sometimes even use the technical term "Open Pollinated" incorrectly to mean "randomly pollinated by unspecified things, maybe heavily cross-pollinated with very dissimilar strains".
Does anyone know what the seed for the Rose of Sharon looks like? I have a double Rose of Sharon lavender color and have been trying to figure out where the seed is and what it looks like. I know there must be seed in the spent flowers somewhere but don't know what it looks like so it's hard to collect something you don't know what you are looking for.
I know there must be seeds because I found a Rose of Sharon seedling growing in front of my mature bushes this year and it had to have come from a seed since the root wasn't connected to the mature bush when I dug it up.
Someone sent me some Rose of Sharon seeds several years ago. IF I find them, I'll post a description and try for a close-up photo.
One rule of thumb I use to guess what is seed and what is chaff: if there is a lot of something small, hard and dark, and they mostly look similar, that's my first guess for the seed.
Then I set out several nesting bowls with wet coffee filters and put different "stuff" in each one. Whatever sprouted must have been seeds. (If you wrote a description on each coffee filter before wetting it, then you'll know which was which.)
But if the seeds need stratification, it's not that easy.
Take a look at this. I'm assuming that they are talking about the same rose of Sharon as you are. From what I've read Rose of Sharon refers to different plants in different parts of the world. I don't know if that is true across the USA or not. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2cwKgmBu6o
>> Please know what you are talking about before you make a statement that is incorrect.
I disagree. I've looked into this a lot and found that the same words are used in very different ways by different people. Check any seed catalog. They use "OP" to indicate a VARIETY that is genetically stable enough to breed true when crossed only with itself.
"But OP strains are forever, if you grow them a little separated from other varieties of the same species."
I stand by that, along with every seed vendor of non-hybrid seeds.
"Open pollinated" means it was a bee with pollen from an unknown parent that fertilized the plant.
Some OTHER people use "open pollinated" to describe their habit of not controlling the pollen sources. They worry not about isolation distances or what other varieties may be in bloom very nearby. Or as some of them like to say "freely pollinated by wind or insect without human intervention."
Like you, I used to think that the term meant ONLY what I wanted it to mean. However, so many people use it your way that I've had to accept that the term no longer means anything, unless the user specifies whether he means "an OP variety or "this particular pkt of seeds were pollinated openly.
>> Please know what you are talking about before you make a statement that is incorrect.
That might not be intended to be rude, but you may wish to consider the possibility that someone else may have put some thought, time and research into something before you tell them that they don't know what they are talking about.
P.S. When one is sure that someone else is wrong, a polite way to share one's superior knowledge is to mention that you disagree, and explain why. Then if it happens to turn out that one DOESN'T actually know ten times more than they do, you seem thoughtful and mature.
I hope I'm coming across as more whimsical than obnoxious, and more humorous than snide. Just as I hope you were not being intentionally rude. That way we could both laugh at the good fun.
>> Most of the plants we enjoy and grow today are hybrids and seed traders/gardeners love and seek them out.
I think this where you and I come from different camps.
Most of the plants I grow are OP varieties (inbred strains selected for genetic homogeneity and stability and desirable characteristics).
The only seeds that I want to trade are ones that I can multiply and conserve (OP varieties).
I understand the value of hybrids for unusual flowers and efficient crops.
I'm curious (not being snide) about how one does seed trading with hybrid seeds. Do you mean splitting a packet of purchased F1 hybrid seeds?
I'm guessing you don't mean letting purchased f1 seeds grow into F1 hybrid plants, letting them pollinate themselves or their siblings, and then trade the resulting F2 hybrid seeds. I'm sure that produces a wide variety of resulting F2 plants, usually without the special traits that the seed vendor bred for.
Am I wrong about that, or are you saying that many gardeners like to select form the resulting F2 variation?
Or are you talking serious breeders willing to start with f1 hybrid parents, and bag and hand-pollinate and keep records and tags until they find some really interesting F2 plants, and try to inbreed those to fix the traits? THAT I would be super-impressive. But I didn't think more than 1 in 1,000 gardeners did that, or maybe 1 in 100 daylily experts.