8 Seed Saving Myths – Chelsea Inexperienced Publishing


There’s loads of misinformation on the market about save your seeds. Fortunately, we’re right here to bust the preferred myths and reply all of your questions on seed saving!

The next is an excerpt from The Tao of Vegetable Gardening by Carol Deppe. It has been tailored for the net.


Fable #1: You Don’t Must Learn About Seed Saving

“You don’t should learn any books about seed saving with a purpose to do it as a result of Indians didn’t learn any books they usually did it.”

Indians had very subtle cultural traditions for a way they grew and dealt with crops that included pragmatic strategies for saving seed and preserving varieties pure.

The ebook Buffalo Hen Girl’s Backyard describes the agricultural patterns of the Hidatsu and Mandan Indians of the higher Midwest in sufficient element that we are able to see how they stored their varieties pure.

Buffalo Hen Girl planted completely different varieties in separate blocks, interspersing blocks of bean varieties with blocks of corn varieties to present some bodily isolation to each. She planted 5 completely different types of corn, however every had a distinct maturity time and distinctive seed kind.

The completely different maturity occasions helped present temporal isolation for every corn selection so crosses could be much less more likely to happen.

And the distinctive seed sorts made it simpler to establish unintentional crosses after they did happen and remove them. Buffalo Hen Girl additionally made preparations with neighboring gardeners in order that they planted the identical selection the place their gardens had been adjoining.seed saving

Buffalo Hen Girl didn’t know concerning the position of pollen in plant replica. She used strategies that had been decided to work empirically.

“Corn traveled,” her folks believed. That’s what they known as it after they noticed the indicators of crossing between corn varieties.

The Hidatsu and Mandan Indians intentionally practiced cultural strategies that they had realized that minimized corn “touring.”

They knew that the nearer two varieties had been planted, the extra the corn traveled between them.

They knew that corn traveled extra readily over open land than damaged land. (Timber and bushes break up wind patterns so pollen spreads much less readily.)

Buffalo Hen Girl realized maintain her varieties pure as a part of the agricultural traditions of her tradition. As well as, she grew massive sufficient blocks of every selection that a lot of the seeds she saved from the crop could be from the inside of the block as an alternative of the perimeters.

Seeds from the inside of a large block of 1 selection are least more likely to be crossed with different varieties. Many European or pioneer American farmers grew just one number of many crops, and grew it on a big sufficient scale in order that it tended to be self-isolated.

Fable #2: You Gained’t Get Crosses

“You received’t get crosses in case you use the advisable isolation distances for varied crops.”

Sorry. No. Typically, the farther aside two varieties are the much less they cross, but it surely’s a matter of diploma, not absolutes. You’ll normally nonetheless get some crosses on the advisable distances.

How a lot isolation distance you want with any crop relies upon not simply on the tendency of the crop to outcross but additionally on how massive your planting is, how massive the plantings of attainable sources of contamination are, how vital just a few outcrosses could be, how pure the variability is because it stands, wind patterns, pollinator strain, and different elements.

As well as there are a lot of tips that can be utilized to isolate crops apart from distance. And in lots of instances with the ability to acknowledge and remove crosses is simpler and extra sensible than avoiding them.

Fable #3: Plant Related Varieties Close to Every Different

“You probably have a lot of varieties that may cross and are doing seed saving, it’s finest to plant the varieties that look comparable close to one another.”

No. This customary observe doesn’t decrease the speed of contaminating crosses however as an alternative makes it harder or unimaginable to acknowledge and remove undesirable crosses after they do happen. You’re almost certainly to lose varieties when there have been crosses that you simply initially can not acknowledge.

It’s higher to plant the varieties which are most completely different subsequent to one another.

In the event you plant a bean selection with purple crops subsequent to 1 with inexperienced crops, for instance, hybrids will normally be pink.

Subsequent era, you merely remove all of the pink crops earlier than they begin to flower. That allows you to maintain the varieties pure even when there have been crosses.

As well as, you’ll really study one thing about what number of crosses you get in your backyard once you plant two types of that species facet by facet.

Fable #4: Hold All of the Seed

“If you save seeds to take care of a spread, you simply maintain all of the seed.”

seed savingNo. You normally maintain seed from solely the perfect crops. You need to actively remove the worst crops in each era. In the event you don’t, the variability will deteriorate spontaneously.

There’s really no such factor as “sustaining” a spread. There are all the time new mutations and unintentional crosses. It’s important to actively choose to take care of a spread.

(The place a spread is genetically messy because of prior neglect or unintentional crosses, it’s possible you’ll maintain seed from solely the perfect half the crops, for instance. The place a spread is genetically fairly clear it’s possible you’ll have to remove only some crops amongst lots of or 1000’s.)

Fable #5: It’s Apparent What the Finest Crops Are

Nope. Typically it’s. Usually it isn’t. “Finest” depends upon what the variability is meant to be, not some absolute.

In the event you simply save the largest fruits you’re usually deciding on for smaller numbers of fruits, for instance. If you choose the largest ears of corn you’re more likely to choose for lateness in case you aren’t cautious, as greater, later crops usually have greater ears.

It takes deep considered what the essence of the variability is and what your personal wants and desires are and the way these two features may intersect to determine choose when saving seed of any given selection.

I normally don’t save seed the primary yr I develop a spread. I’ve to turn into accustomed to the variability first.

Fable #6: Frequent Beans Don’t Cross

“Frequent beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) are inbreeders and don’t cross. So that you don’t should isolate completely different bean varieties from one another.”

Sorry. No. It’s true, beans are inbreeders, however practically all so-called inbreeders nonetheless do cross. They merely have a tendency to not do it as often because the crops we select to name outbreeders. How a lot beans cross depends upon your area and different situations.

If I plant two rows of beans of various varieties adjoining to one another I’ll get greater than 5 % crosses. That’s sufficient to lose each varieties utterly in just a few generations until I additionally take measures to acknowledge and remove the crosses.

Fable#7: You Can Inform When You Have Crosses

“You possibly can inform when you have got crosses on seed like corn or beans. The crossed seed seems completely different.”

Typically, and solely typically, that is true for corn. False for beans. With corn, crosses of blackseeded and yellow-seeded varieties typically do present on the seed.

Black Å~ yellow kernel coloration will normally (however not all the time) present up as bluish or speckled kernels on the yellow ear, however solely typically present up properly sufficient to be obvious on the black ears. Crosses of candy and subject corn are all the time apparent on the candy ears however not on the sphere ears.

Crosses of flint corn and flour corn present up on the flint however not normally on the flour.

It depends upon which genes are dominant.

Crosses involving pericarp (pores and skin) coloration on the kernels don’t present up as a result of the mom plant makes the pericarps. The genes within the seed don’t have something to do with it.

You possibly can’t inform crosses in any respect on bean seed. With beans, the pores and skin (therefore bean coloration) is made by the mom plant, not the seed. So the beans mirror the genes within the mom plant.

Likewise, the scale and form of bean seed is set largely by the pod, which can also be made by the mom plant. So if there are crosses between two bean varieties, you don’t see any signal of it till you develop out the ensuing seed.

Fable #8: You Ought to Isolate Crops

“You need to all the time isolate a given crop by the required advisable isolation distance and develop the required advisable variety of crops.”seed saving

Not essentially. Typically you may afford to be fairly informal. It depends upon your position and function.

If you’re promoting or distributing seed you ought to be rigorous together with your isolation distances and numbers. If you’re the one supply for the seed, if the variability’s complete existence depends upon you, it is advisable be extra much more rigorous.

If you’re saving seed only for your self, nonetheless, and have some backup seed within the freezer, you could be fairly informal about all the things.

For the squash seed I promote, for instance, we plant just one number of every species in a farm subject that’s separate from my house backyard.

Every selection is remoted by miles from others of the identical species.

And there are 100 or extra crops of every selection to maintain the heterogeneity and vigor up. Nonetheless, I’m the breeder for these varieties and the final word supply for the seed.

For squash varieties the place I’m saving seed for simply my very own use and have backup frozen seed, I’m fairly informal. I develop a number of varieties of every species in my house backyard.

Isolation distances?

Hey, I simply put a spread as removed from different types of the identical species as attainable in my house backyard and go away it at that.

I could merely alternate varieties of various squash species to offer somewhat isolation inside every block of every species.

Numbers of crops?

I develop no matter quantity I used to be rising anyway only for meals. If the variability will get crossed up or overly inbred I can return to my frozen stash for a contemporary begin. If I enhance the variability, I add the improved model to my seed financial institution.

One of many benefits of getting a do-it-yourself seed financial institution is that it means that you can do extra seed saving with much less labor and fuss.


Really helpful Reads

Preserving Seeds Organized: Saving & Storing

Saving Dry vs. Moist Seeds: The Seed Sequence

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