Monday, 26 September 2011

Saving Seeds

I don't save many of my own seeds. Last year I saved some Tangella tomato seeds, purely because it's not that easy to buy them, there aren't many places which stock them. This year I'm having a go at saving some seed of the mange tout which I grew. These are Robinson and Stephens, which are actually peas, but they can also be eaten as mange tout. They were kindly given to me by Bilbo Waggins from The View From Bag End. I left the pods on the plants to dry, and now that I've snipped them off, I shall leave them a while longer just to make sure that they're thoroughly dry before removing the seeds. Fingers crossed that they germinate for me next year.

I was very sad last week when I came across a goldfinch in the back garden. It was laid on the grass as dead as a doornail. I've no idea what it died from, a cat certainly hadn't had it, it looked so perfect. Poor thing. I've never seen a goldfinch in the back garden before, I've seen them on a few occasions in the front garden.

It's a lovely bright sunny day today. I've been holding out for an Indian summer after the miserable summer we've just experienced, but it's been so cold lately that I'd just about given up all hope. That is until the weather forcasters told us that the temperature is set to rise this week. Perhaps we'll get our Indian summer afterall.


  1. I've still got pea pods growing from a late sowing so it will be a while before I seed save any. I'm ever hopeful of an indian summer, it will just keep the soil warm enough for late sowings - although knowing my luck it will be over by the end of my working week!

  2. I've been told that it is really good to save your own seeds as the plants get used to your soil and the more years you save them the better your crop gets. I always mean to save seeds but I have to admit that so far I haven't been very good at it...maybe it's a goal to set myself for next year!!

  3. I've read that when saving your own seeds you really need to choose the very best specimens of your fruits/veg, rather than just the odd ones that got missed during earlier harvesting. This makes sense in the context of "survival of the fittest".
    The "-ella" tomatoes all seem to be good ones, but you're right Tangella is not easily available. I have grown Sungella the last two years, and it has been really good, and a couple of times I have grown Tigerella, which is good-looking and tasy as well as being a heavy cropper.

  4. I save various seed, mostly flowers.
    That's sad about the goldfinch.
    It's been dull and drizzling here today but the forecast is looking good for the rset of the week. Flighty xx

  5. Good luck with the seeds. I have had pretty good luck with cuttings, but have not tried saving my own seeds.
    Wish I could share our Indian Summer, it is lovely here.

  6. It was a gorgeous day today in Ripon, got out into the garden and enjoyed the sunshine!

    I normally go through the flower beds saving seeds as the pods dry out and then re-sprinkle them on other parts of the garden but haven't had much success with veggies.


  7. I'd really like to start doing this more diligently as well. I did sow some saved pumpkin seeds this year but found to my surprise that the pumpkin had crossed with a courgette! ;)

  8. There's a disease that is affecting finches. Here's the RSPB information
    here I hope it isn't that.

  9. Just had to post to say I saw the one show tonight and it was talking about a disease going round green finches due to bird feeders. It effects their beak and how they feed.

  10. I'll keep my fingers crossed that the warm weather lasts until the weekend, Caro. It must be so annoying to be working when you know you could be doing so many other things, I know how I used to feel when I was working. Hope you get a great late harvest of peas.

    I've heard the same thing about seed saving, Tanya. I hope this batch do well next year, they certainly did me proud this year.

    I left a couple of my mange tout plants to produce seed rather than harvest from them, Mark. It's quite hard to leave the best ones with mange tout as they stop producing if you don't pick them, much easier to just stop harvesting from a couple of plants. I've grown Tigerella previously and they've done really well, a very nice tomato and as you say, good looking too.

    I bet you save a fortune by saving your flower seeds, Flighty. Many flowers are happy to self seed anyway, so you're just helping them along. It was very sad about the goldfinch, especially as it's such a beautiful bird which I'd have been thrilled to see in the garden. I hope the weather is kinder to you for the rest of the week, I must remember to turn my heating off, I've had it set to come on for the last few mornings as it's been so cold.

    Thanks, Kat. I used to take lots of cuttings but it's been a while now since I've taken any. It's nice to be having good weather at this time of year, I do hope we get a bit of sunshine this week.

    Glad to hear that you've enjoyed some sunshine today, Kay. Good for you making the most of those seed pods, but sorry to hear you haven't had the same success with vegetables. I should really save many more seeds than I do, I should get in to the habit of it.

    Those cucurbits are very promiscuous, Tanya. I've never tried saving seed from them as you never know what you're going to get. I bet it was a surprise.

    Thanks for the info, Sue. I hope it isn't that either. I'll keep a close eye on the garden in case there's any more casualties and also ask the neighbours. So sad.

    I didn't see the One Show, Scented Sweetpeas, so thanks for bringing that to my attention. What a cruel disease, I truly hope it isn't that.

  11. Hi Jo - I always save peas and beans, tomatoes and anything else I can. We have had gorgeous weather today so I was able to get a lot of the backlog of work cleared. I have bought some pea seed that can be sown in October, be interesting to see how it goes.

  12. It's a lovely idea to keep seeds from plants that have grown from gifted seeds :) (That was a mouthful, but you know what I mean?)
    Hope they do well for you.
    It got chilly yesterday afternoon, hoping for better as the week progresses :)

  13. Those pods look like they have got some nice fat seeds inside so hopefully you'll get a good crop next year. I have collected flower seeds but not veg so far, it makes sense though so I really should give it a go.
    Such a shame about the goldfinch, it's sad especially when it looked so perfect. I am not an expert but last year had two finches in my garden which had a disease and it was quite obvious they were ill before they died so I have a feeling you would know if it was that. Could it have flown into a window?

  14. Everybody is going seed saving crazy on their blogs at the moment!!

    Have a good day!

    Martin :0)

  15. Hope that you are enjoying the warm spell Jo ~ the forecast was spot on for once :)

  16. We've had a really warm week, up to 70F. Hoping we have some rain free weather at the weekend. I have LOTS of weeding to do, and maybe I'll collect some seed! Kelli

  17. I've been saving some of my cutflower seeds but not my veg seeds. It's been my first year on the plot and I really want to spend a few years trying lots of different varieties. i had sugar snap peas this year but I fancy trying some mange tout and some normal peas next year

  18. You're very organised saving all that seed, Elaine. It will be interesting to see how your peas go on.

    It's great to keep the seed going, especially when they're not easy varieties to come by, Mo. The weather certainly did change as the week progressed.

    I'm hoping that the seed does well for me, Bluebell. I had 100% germination from the tomato seeds I saved last year. The goldfinch could have flown in to a window, though it hadn't died in close proximity to one, poor thing.

    Saving seeds saves money, as well as keeping some rarer varieties going, Martin. I'm sure you'll be doing it yourself before too long.

    I never really listen to the weather forcasters, Anna, but it's nice to see that they were right for once. We certainly did enjoy the hot spell.

    We had a little drizzle on Sunday morning, but apart from that the weekend was gorgeous, Kelli. Hope you managed to get all the jobs you wanted to do done.

    Thanks for visiting, Wellywoman. I've tried lots of different varieties before I've started saving seed so I think you're doing the right thing. I'm just getting to the point now where there's a few varieties which I really like and will grow again.


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