Seed saving

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Odsox
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Seed saving

Post: # 293727Post Odsox »

I'm going to be saving more seed this year, not because of the present "problem" but because I've been getting duff seed that I've been paying good money for.
I have been saving the easy to collect seed for years from; peas, beans, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, sweetcorn, courgettes and squash, and more recently from onions.
I have been getting most of my seed from one of the big UK seed companies, in fact I have been buying their seed for at least 50 years. But a couple of years ago they sent me a packet of onion seed that was 4 years old that none germinated, and this year I bought a packet of lettuce that was "Sow before end 2019" ... bought in February 2020.
So, now I'm going to harvest seed from the lettuce that inevitably bolts, allow a cabbage to do the same. Plus beetroot, turnips, leeks, parsnips and carrots.
Plus the couple of F1 tomatoes that I like will be overwintered and side shoots rooted for the next year(s).
That'll teach them, or probably not.
Tony

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Flo
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Re: Seed saving

Post: # 293728Post Flo »

I noticed that when we did the order for the allotment trading hut the dates were very close - i.e.this year only. I think there's some shelf clearing going on in order to make money to see them through.

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Re: Seed saving

Post: # 293729Post Weedo »

Out of Date is always a risk when ordering on line but I don't know any other way to get "bulk" seeds (other than the tiny little shelf packets) - I can remember my father purchasing seed (and nails, screws, fertiliser) by weight over the counter - 2 oz of that and 6 oz of this etc. from the bins - all the old merhandisers have gone out of business
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Re: Seed saving

Post: # 293753Post Odsox »

I think I may have made the right decision.
I was looking to buy some butternut squash seed to grow for my daughter and her tribe, the one I grow is not sweet and almost certainly wouldn't suit their taste buds.

Looking online, some of the smaller seed companies have ceased trading and the "big" UK companies are out of stock on nearly all the popular vegetable seeds I looked at.
Given that the lettuce seed they sold me back in January was harvested in 2018, and are now sold out. Plus there may be issues harvesting this year's seed due to Covid and Brexit, I think next year's seed may be difficult to come by.
Tony

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Re: Seed saving

Post: # 293809Post Weedo »

Anyone using Rhizobium inoculants on legume seed in the garden?
I am currently inoculating vetch seed for larger scale planting and note the same product is also suitable for beans - essentially the product is a specific mix of Rhizobium and other bacteria important for their healthy growth; particularly nodulation and production of nitrogen. So, the same product should also promote healthy plants in the veg patch?

Rhizobium species are usually specific to a legume species or group of species and, in the home range of the plant, occur naturally. Here we have imported the food plants but not their companions so we need to do this artificially (and every year because we carefully spray fungicides on our crops and kill them). I have also read some papers covering the micro-Biology within seeds - naturally growing seeds contain a balance of microbes that are essential for the seedling plants growth and survival - and it appears that we have bred this capability out of our major food plants along with the natural symbiotic relationships with soil micro-biota.

This raises the question as to whether seed saving restores - over generations - the seeds natural capacity to provide for its own well being?
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Re: Seed saving

Post: # 293818Post Green Aura »

It sounds very complicated. Something I've just read says you need a specific type for different legumes, so not a one size fits all. I think if your soil is very depleted it's probably worth it though, and it doesn't seem to be harmful in any way.

I'm not sure whether the seed saving would improve things or increasing the nutrients/bacteria etc in the soil is more important. My own guess is it would be the latter.
Maggie

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Odsox
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Re: Seed saving

Post: # 293821Post Odsox »

Now there's a thing I hadn't thought of.
I know that broad beans have masses of root nodules that are bacteria supplying nitrogen, also peas as well, so I assume ALL legume varieties are the same.
I'm growing dwarf French beans hydroponically this year, does that mean that nitrogen needn't be added to the nutrient or would supplying nitrogen rich nutrient negate the need for the symbiotic bacteria? :scratch:

I'll check the roots in the autumn and see, as the supply tank is common to the 3 pipes I can't exclude nitrogen.
Tony

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Re: Seed saving

Post: # 293829Post Weedo »

not really complicated GA (although the home garden suppliers like to make it seem so) There are rhizobium products with multiple species coverage like the one I am using at the moment works for Faba bean, peas, vetch, and lentils; otherwise there are ones for specific species. They are really easy to use; just mix it up, coat the seeds and sow, or, trickle into the planting row or holes. In a healthy, biologically active soil this is a noe in 5 year process.

Virtually all legumes have root nodules containing bacteria that convert nitrogen in return for a safe home and other nutrients. Since the bacteria evolved along with the plant they already exist in their home range so inoculation is not needed.

I am not sure if this actually works in hydroponics - the bugs may not like living in a saturated environment. However, when you check the roots and there probably will be nodules but possibly not populated; cut a few nodules open and if they are pink inside then they are active.
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Flo
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Re: Seed saving

Post: # 293835Post Flo »

The one problem with seed saving is that if you start with F1 seeds, you really have no idea what you are going to get next season. "They" said that F1 seeds were to produce an improvement on the heritage varieties which don't produce well enough for modern requirements. "They" don't mention that heritage seeds were often kept as suitable for a local area (reason why you get obscure apple trees in little orchards in the middle of nowhere producing quite happily is the one I always remember). Odsox many end up with a lot of new "old" varieties adapted to his growing space!

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Re: Seed saving

Post: # 293836Post Odsox »

One thing that I not sure of is the F1 tomato that I like. I intend to overwinter rooted side shoots to grow on next year.
I know they will be exact clones of the parent, but after many years of continuing the process will I still have an exact clone of the original parent, and not a case of a photocopy of a photocopy ad infinitum?
Or as Flo points out, will I gradually have a personalised plant that is subtly different?
Tony

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Flo
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Re: Seed saving

Post: # 293840Post Flo »

Odsox, how many years do we have to follow the saga of the F1 tomato? Could be interesting as a scientific experiment.

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Re: Seed saving

Post: # 293842Post Odsox »

Flo wrote:
Sun Apr 26, 2020 10:29 am
Odsox, how many years do we have to follow the saga of the F1 tomato? Could be interesting as a scientific experiment.
Well that depends on how many more years I've got. :lol:
Tony

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Re: Seed saving

Post: # 293843Post Weedo »

More interesting from a sociological perspective than a plant breeding one; I have no doubt that Odsox is injecting a type (growth, taste, productivity) selection process into the process and that the "F1" he has now is not the F1 he started with.
We breed (perhaps "produce" is a better term) F1 cattle because these are better producers and mothers than either of the parents and are popular with the buyers - all boys to market, some females selected to retain as maternals and the rest to market. However, our selection processes (growth, milk, fertility, structure, temperament, colour etc.) Means that our herd is markedly different to the bloke up the road even though we use the same parental bloodlines.
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Re: Seed saving

Post: # 294055Post Odsox »

I have just discovered a disadvantage of saving seed.
I harvested my onions yesterday and realised that I have 2 distinctly different varieties, the golden brown skinned of the original and about 20% white skinned ones. Apart from the outer skin colour they are still identical, but one flower that I saved seed from must have been cross pollinated.
The thing is I only grew one variety that I allowed to flower, and nobody within several miles grows vegetables, so I have no idea where that came from.
Tis interesting though. :iconbiggrin:
Tony

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Re: Seed saving

Post: # 294056Post Green Aura »

They might be lovely.
Maggie

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