The Basics

Decide what type of seed(vegetable, flower, herb, tree, shrub):
○Easy: lettuce, tomato, peas, herbs(cilantro, basil)
○Difficult: cucurbits(cucumber, melon, squash, pumpkin),biennials(carrot, beet,onion, brassicas)

Obtain seeds:
○Open-pollinated (heritage/heirloom). Non-Hybrid.
○Try to source your OP seed locally

Gather information on what you plant for seed:
○This will determine how and when the seeds can be collected
○Find out the scientific name of the plant (often indicated on package)
○Is it: Annual(produces seed in 1 season), biennial(goes to seed in 2 seasons),perennial( many produce seed every season, seeds may not be viable, or easier using other means of propogation)

Grow your Seeds into Plants:
○To avoid confusion mark the plants you intend to use for seed and label the variety
○Follow recommended isolation methods and requirements:
○Distance, Timing, Physical Barrier

Select and Collect:
○Choose plants with desired qualities: exceptional taste/flavour, produces early/late, vigor
○Over time through selection seeds/plants will become more suited to particular growing conditions and preferences
○Be selective but remember that every season may bring different challenges, having seed with diverse traits is essential (wet/drought, cold/heat tolerance)

○There are different methods for producing the final clean seed prior to storing
○Wet processing: Allow fruit to mature on plant (often well past the eating stage)
-Ferment pulp and seed (helps control disease, takes a few days)
-This method is used for: Tomato, Cucumber, etc.
○Dry processing: Remove dry fruit/vegetable from plants
-Thresh to remove seeds from hulls/husks/pods/shells
-Remove chaff (winnow using a fan or on a breezy day)
-This method is used for: Beans, Grains, Lettuce, Carrots, Brassicas

○Store seeds in a cool, dark, dry spot.
○Airtight jars in a basement/garage; freezer/fridge works well, seeds must be completely dry
○Label seed containers with: variety name, harvest date, any additional info

Share the Surplus:
○Check germination rate (sprout some to see what percentage are viable)
○Share seeds with friends, neighbours, 4H group, community seed bank/swaps


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