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Saving Seeds: Can anyone recommend a good book on saving seeds?

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agertz
Washougal, WA
(Zone 6b)

November 14, 2008
6:24 PM

Post #5790794

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!

Amy in Washougal, WA
JonnaSudenius

(Zone 6b)

November 14, 2008
7:18 PM

Post #5790933

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.
dahlianut
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

November 14, 2008
11:03 PM

Post #5791600

I haven't found a good one sigh.

melody

melody
Benton, KY
(Zone 7a)


November 14, 2008
11:07 PM

Post #5791615

In our Garden Bookworm database, you can search by category.

This one is the best in many opinions: http://davesgarden.com/products/gbw/c/315/
dahlianut
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

November 14, 2008
11:14 PM

Post #5791649

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.

melody

melody
Benton, KY
(Zone 7a)


November 15, 2008
12:15 AM

Post #5791842

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.

http://davesgarden.com/products/gbw/advanced.php?category=31&submit=Go&offset=0
dahlianut
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

November 15, 2008
1:26 AM

Post #5792105

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).

bluespiral

bluespiral

(Zone 7a)

November 16, 2008
5:59 PM

Post #5797749

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,
State College,
PA 16801,
USA

His book (my germination/seed storage bible) -

Seed Germination Theory and Practice
by Norman C. Deno
2nd edition

which I obtained by sending him a $20 check at the above address.

A description of the above book:

http://theseedsite.co.uk/normdeno.html

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.

Karen
dahlianut
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

November 16, 2008
6:02 PM

Post #5797766

Deno is a germination expert. There's no doubt about it.
Spookycharles
Langley, WA
(Zone 8b)

November 28, 2008
10:58 PM

Post #5838919

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.

~Amanda
greenmum
Abbotsford, BC
(Zone 8a)

December 5, 2008
6:54 PM

Post #5861970

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!!)
Katrina
LynnPhillips
Buckley, WA
(Zone 7b)

December 5, 2008
8:43 PM

Post #5862287

Greenmum,
Doe that book have illustrations of the seed pod and seeds?
T/Y
Lynn
tabasco
Cincinnati (Anderson, OH
(Zone 6a)

December 15, 2008
3:20 AM

Post #5892638

Hi, Agertz, Lots of good tips here~~thanks for making the thread!

FYI here are a couple of resources about seeds and seed collecting I found useful:

"The Seed Site" has lots of good photos of various seeds: http://theseedsite.co.uk/seedpods.html

The book "Seed to Seed" got pretty good reviews on Amazon from buyers : http://www.amazon.com/Seed-Growing-Techniques-Vegetable-Gardeners/dp/1882424581/ref=reader_req_dp and a few used copies are available.

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.

Weezingreen's introductory thread: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/463059/

And links to all her other Seed Snatchin' threads: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/threads.php?user=Weezingreens&limit=seedsaving&submit=submit

And I love the Deno info, too. So much to learn (at least for me!)

Good luck with your seed collecting. t.
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

December 18, 2008
4:04 PM

Post #5904689

tabasco, This is a great site http://theseedsite.co.uk/index.html

Thanks for posting.
agertz
Washougal, WA
(Zone 6b)

January 2, 2009
4:19 PM

Post #5956406

Wow, thanks everyone! This is awesome! I've been travelling, snowed in and otherwise occupied and haven't had time to check back til now.

I appreciate all your responses and now I have lots of reading and work to do! Thanks so much.
altagardener
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3b)

March 1, 2009
11:11 PM

Post #6208017

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...

This message was edited Mar 1, 2009 4:13 PM
greenmum
Abbotsford, BC
(Zone 8a)

March 11, 2009
9:37 PM

Post #6252968

Lynn,
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

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

March 25, 2009
8:53 AM

Post #6316280

You don't really need a book on saving seeds. There really isn't that much to it. I have saved perennial flower seeds for many years. The trick is to know when the seeds of different varieties are ripe to pick. Unripe seeds won't germinate.

Here is the information that I read somewhere at one time, which I have followed:
Seeds are ripe when the stem holding the seedhead is brown, and petals are dead. Plants cut off food supply to stems that bear blooms to save energy since it is no longer needed. I'm not talking about the whole stem, since they also send out side branches that produce flowers. I'm referring to the short stem or spur that the seedhead is attached to.

Best time to pick seeds from your garden is in the afternoon in sunny weather to reduce moisture in the seed head. Gather seeds late summer or fall since most seeds are ripe then. However, keep your eyes out to catch seeds before they are dropped.

Spread out your seeds on a kitchen paper towel in single layer and allow to dry for 2 weeks. If stored damp, the seeds will rot. During the drying time, stir the seeds so that each side will be exposed to air.

I store my seeds in plastic prescription containers since I happen to have them. They can also be saved in small glass jars. The container should capped. Label it with name and year harvested. Paper doesn't work since it absorbs moisture.

I store my seeds in the refrigerator since perennials benefit from the low temperature when it is time to sow. Some I place in the freezer. All can be placed in a freezer. It will not damage the seeds. Keep out of sun. Dark is best.

As I have mentioned in another forum, I found a plastic shoe box of forgotten seeds stored in my garden shed for 3 years---with heat and cold, etc. In the box was seeds from 2002. I tested them this month, and they germinated fine in moist kitchen paper towels, called Deno method.

Seeds are tougher than is thought. They have to be for species to survive. In summary, the most important element is to pick when ripe, let them dry, store them in a closed container to enjoy the following season.

A note on hybrid plants---they do not come true from seeds. On the other hand, it is fun to see what exactly will come up. It could be something very unique and brand new. Gaillaridias are a perfect example in the second and third generation.

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

March 27, 2009
11:43 PM

Post #6329024

agertz
While looking for something else, I came across this web site. It offer several books on saving and storing seeds. If the link don't work, copy and paste it into your browser.

http://wintersown.org/wseo1/Saving_Seeds.html

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

December 1, 2010
10:45 AM

Post #8239260

Here are direct, persistent URLs for downloading Dr. Deno's book and supplements on germination:

Thank you, Dr. Deno!

Select "View/Open", be prepared to wait a while, then "File ... Save As"

Title: Seed germination, theory and practice.
http://hdl.handle.net/10113/41278

Title: First supplement to the second edition of Seed germination theory and practice.
http://hdl.handle.net/10113/41279

Title: Second supplement to Seed germination theory and practice.
http://hdl.handle.net/10113/41277

Corey

ScentedLeaf
Vancouver, BC
(Zone 7b)

January 31, 2012
5:13 PM

Post #8989934

RickCorey_WA wrote:Here are direct, persistent URLs for downloading Dr. Deno's book and supplements on germination:

Thank you, Dr. Deno!

Select "View/Open", be prepared to wait a while, then "File ... Save As"

Title: Seed germination, theory and practice.
http://hdl.handle.net/10113/41278

Title: First supplement to the second edition of Seed germination theory and practice.
http://hdl.handle.net/10113/41279

Title: Second supplement to Seed germination theory and practice.
http://hdl.handle.net/10113/41277

Corey



Thank you Corey (and of course Dr. Deno ;-) for sharing. Definitely a must read.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 31, 2012
7:18 PM

Post #8990131

I found Deno somewhat complicated, but I think after figuring out the abbr4viations, ajnd learning how to find synonyms, it is by far the most detailed reference anywhere.

Herre are some links I saved over the years. Maybe some will be stale, and there is a lot of duplication.

WAnatives, collecting & starting - - - http://gardening.wsu.edu/text/nvgrowng.htm

Here is a link that discusses the cross-pollination of various plant species:
(pdf format) http://www.cog.ca/documents/SeedsofDiversitySU06.pdf

I n t e r n a t i o n a l S e e d S a v i n g I n s t i t u t e - - - - http://www.seedsave.org/issi/904/beginner.html

http://www.savingourseed.org/pdf/SeedProcessingandStorageVer...

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/909951/

http://wintersown.org/wseo1/Saving_Seeds.html


saving seeds
http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/1749/

Seed Snatchin': The Art and Sport of Collecting Seeds < - - very funny!
http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/248/
----------------

http://www.cnps.org/cnps/grownative/propagation/seed_collect...

-----------------------
... remove bacteria that would be present if the seeds were just allowed to dry on paper towels.
This link explains the process very well including tips:
http://gardening.about.com/od/totallytomatoes/ss/TomatoSeeds...

Another method is the "hot water bath" which can kill bacteria in the seed's interior:
http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/NewsArticles/All_...

flower seed viability table - scroll down
http://www.hillgardens.com/seed_longevity.htm

good link, many kinds, no time to read: http://gardening.about.com/od/totallytomatoes/ss/TomatoSeeds.htm

seed too dry? See this thread in Seed Germination Forum
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/807711/

---
http://www.ianr.unl.edu/pubs/horticulture/g503.htm


RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 31, 2012
7:31 PM

Post #8990143

Long story short?

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".
ScentedLeaf
Vancouver, BC
(Zone 7b)

February 1, 2012
8:49 PM

Post #8991556

RickCorey_WA wrote:I found Deno somewhat complicated, but I think after figuring out the abbr4viations, ajnd learning how to find synonyms, it is by far the most detailed reference anywhere.

Herre are some links I saved over the years. Maybe some will be stale, and there is a lot of duplication.

WAnatives, collecting & starting - - - http://gardening.wsu.edu/text/nvgrowng.htm

Here is a link that discusses the cross-pollination of various plant species:
(pdf format) http://www.cog.ca/documents/SeedsofDiversitySU06.pdf

I n t e r n a t i o n a l S e e d S a v i n g I n s t i t u t e - - - - http://www.seedsave.org/issi/904/beginner.html

http://www.savingourseed.org/pdf/SeedProcessingandStorageVer...

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/909951/

http://wintersown.org/wseo1/Saving_Seeds.html


saving seeds
http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/1749/

Seed Snatchin': The Art and Sport of Collecting Seeds < - - very funny!
http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/248/
----------------

http://www.cnps.org/cnps/grownative/propagation/seed_collect...

-----------------------
... remove bacteria that would be present if the seeds were just allowed to dry on paper towels.
This link explains the process very well including tips:
http://gardening.about.com/od/totallytomatoes/ss/TomatoSeeds...

Another method is the "hot water bath" which can kill bacteria in the seed's interior:
http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/NewsArticles/All_...

flower seed viability table - scroll down
http://www.hillgardens.com/seed_longevity.htm

good link, many kinds, no time to read: http://gardening.about.com/od/totallytomatoes/ss/TomatoSeeds.htm

seed too dry? See this thread in Seed Germination Forum
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/807711/

---
http://www.ianr.unl.edu/pubs/horticulture/g503.htm




Thank you Corey ... looks like couple of links get truncated or something.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

February 2, 2012
12:01 PM

Post #8992252

I just copy-pasted my collection without re-checking each.

DG only dislays some or the link, but you can still follow them by clicking on them.

shi1
Lecanto, FL
(Zone 8b)

April 22, 2012
12:57 PM

Post #9093020

The Complete Guide To Saving Seeds has over 300 varieties of herbs, veggies, flowers, shrubs and such in itr. It can be purchased at amazon.com, Walmart or My Patriot Supply.com
ryguy319
Owosso, MI
(Zone 5b)

August 30, 2013
5:55 AM

Post #9645594

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.
Jan

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

August 30, 2013
6:14 PM

Post #9646264

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.
Doug9345
Durhamville, NY
(Zone 5b)

September 6, 2013
6:16 AM

Post #9652212

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

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

October 4, 2013
7:46 PM

Post #9678230

RickCorey_WA wrote:...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".


"Open pollinated" means it was a bee with pollen from an unknown parent that fertilized the plant.

Thank God for hybrids. How do you think the beautiful irises and daylilies came about. They are all hybrids with named pod and pollen parents. Most of the plants we enjoy and grow today are hybrids and seed traders/gardeners love and seek them out. I have both iris and daylily seedlings that I have crossed from named HYBRID plants.

Please know what you are talking about before you make a statement that is incorrect.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

October 9, 2013
7:18 PM

Post #9682487

>> 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.

I said:
"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.

You said:
"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.

You said;
>> 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.


RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

October 9, 2013
7:26 PM

Post #9682494

>> 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.

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