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You can save vegetable seeds from your garden produce to plant next year. Seed saving involves selecting suitable plants from which to save seed, harvesting seeds at the right time, and processing and storing them properly over the winter. When saving seed, you should chose open-pollinated varieties rather than hybrids. Learn about wet seeded and dry seeded crops, pollination. Most vegetable (and flower) varieties must be kept protected, or 'isolated,' from other similar varieties (i.e., same species) during flowering to avoid cross-pollinating the plants and mixing their genes. Seeds saved from plants that have been cross-pollinated by other varieties do not reproduce true-to-type.
During the 1900's the USA experienced a startling drop in the number of heirloom varieties—because gardeners stopped saving and trading their own seeds. When we rely on commercial seed companies, any seeds that sell slowly simply get dropped from production and disappear. This loss of varieties translates into lower genetic variability in our food plants. Lower variability means lower adaptability to stresses such as disease or climate.
Taught by Jean, a Master Gardener, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry and Propagation Specialist. This expert has served on the Board of Urban Harvest as Vice-President, and coordinates Vegetable Garden and Greenhouse Programs for the MG Program and for Urban Harvest.