After reading a few Going To Seed posts, you’ve decided “I want to be a seed saver!”
But wait, there are so many seeds out there.
What seed should you save?
Let me guide you through a reflection and evaluation process to determine what seeds to save. Over the next couple of posts I will explore different aspects of how to build your seed to save list, and choose your first seed crop.
Start With The Varieties You Already Grow
The best starting spot is seed of the varieties you already grow.
These are varieties with which that you’ve already begun a relationship. You grow them because they grow well for you or you you love how they taste. These traits make these valuable seeds for you to save.
Now, for which of the varieties that you are growing; should you save the seed?
You will need to get some some information together to better make that decision.
Compile Your Seed Orders
Go and get all your seed orders for the year and enter them all into one spreadsheet.
Make sure your compiled seed order has the following columns
- whether the seed is hybrid or open pollinated (this should be noted in the seed catalog)
- whether the seed is organic or not (also in the seed catalog)
- the total cost of the seed.
(These columns are already included in my seed order template.)
Sort Your List by OP vs F1
Once all your seed orders are compiled use the sort function on your spreadsheet to sort the OP/F1 column.
Open Pollinated (OP) varieties are stable varieties that breed true to type. If you save seeds from these varieties while respecting the appropriate isolation distances, you will get the same variety you started with.
Hybrid Seeds (F1) are created by crossing two plant lines. If you save their seed, you will NOT get the variety you started with. You will get an explosion of diversity.
If you are looking to save a reliable variety, only save seeds from OP varieties.
Now what OP seed should you save?
What Seeds Are Often Unavailable?
Look over your list of OP varieties and use the notes column to record any concerns you might have about whether a variety will be available in coming years.
- Is this variety often sold out or back ordered?
- Have you heard rumours (or facts!) about this variety being phased out or dropped.
Saving these seeds will mean you no longer have to rely on a seed company having your varieties in stock.
Start your seed saving wish list by adding 3 varieties that you fear won’t be reliably available in future years.
Please share one of those varieties in the comments section!
The next post in the series is on how to Reduce Your Seed Bill By Saving Seeds.