But I am ever hopeful. Gardeners are optimists, aren't we?
"Never give up" is the homesteader's creed. I plant heirloom seeds each spring and hope for the best. Seed saving is a relatively new thing for me, but definitely something I want to master, just like gardening itself.
Saving radish seed is a good beginner project - just let a plant flower and collect the seeds, storing them in a cool, dry place. Basil seeds are very easy. I've also saved tomato and pepper seeds with some success, and have tried the occasional "this was a good grocery-store cantaloupe; I should try saving some of the seeds." This year I'm trying even harder, so I've been looking for advice.
Sensible Garden's post The Art of Saving Seeds shared reasons why we should save our seeds, which was very good food for thought. There are directions for saving many types of vegetable seeds, but also some good advice about improving our plants and about plant diversity.
Gardening Jones has basic instructions for saving tomato seeds. Although I know that woman cannot live on tomatoes alone, they are certainly the star of my garden and the summer treat I look forward to all winter long.
Saving Vegetable Garden Seeds from O-Garden includes the nuts and bolts of drying seeds and storing them so they will be viable next year (and hopefully longer than that).
This post from Garden Chick has printable seed packets in which to store your seeds. Don't forget to label your packets well with the seed variety and the year.
Preparedness Mama wrote about how to save seeds that will last up to ten years in a "seed vault". There is excellent advice here about why we want our seeds to last such a long time.
My last suggested resource is a comprehensive collection of basic seed saving directions from the International Seed Saving Institute. Plants are divided into three groups: those that are easy for beginners to save, for experienced seed savers, and for experts.
Oh, my house cats think I do a good job of saving catnip seed too. Unfortunately the seeds didn't make it through the winter: the cats destroyed the envelope so that they could get to that absolutely irresistible plant material inside. I think they ate the seeds.
This year I will also try overwintering a tomato plant again. I've had about 50% success with this method, some years it works great and other years my cuttings die soon after I bring them indoors. I still wonder if the tap water I use is partly to blame.
Plus I'll be planting some tomato cuttings in pots that will have to compete for space with the potted herbs on my two sunny windowsills. In the past I've been overwintering them in jars of water as described in the perennial tomato post, but this year I will be doing both. If I can keep them alive, I get a big jump on spring.
I'll still be saving seed too - it's the most dependable way to ensure I'll have the wide variety of tomatoes I like to grow.
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
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