By Jannie Vaught
Which is a good time to brush up on seed saving, I am using the Book The Seed Garden The Art and Practice of Seed Saving from Seed Savers Exchange. If you are interested in going deeper into seed and plant identification this is a good book to have. Definition; Taxonomy and Nomenclature is the science that identifies and classifies plants according to how many traits they share. Within this column, I will refer to savable seeds as Heirloom or Heritage. These are plants that have a history of open-pollinated seeds. These are very popular now and the available seeds are at almost every seed company. They are usually plants that have been grown from generation to generation without any or little cross-pollination, even though plants are segregated and not intentionally crossed with pollen, nature does what nature does and plants cross and change over time.
For instance a wild plant called Queen Anns Lace, a wild carrot with a white root has a bee land on the flowering head then the bee goes to the carrot that is flowering, that pollinated seed from the carrot next year will not be true to the type of the carrot you planted but possibly have a white root. Why did I go down this rabbit hole? It is to show you that no matter how carefully we plan and identify, crossing happens and it may be a happy thing or a not so tasty thing, that is what makes it interesting the possibility of what nature is capable of when we are not looking. Having Plant identification markers with the date, one for each starting pot and row markers can be of great help. Also have a drawing of every year’s garden, placed in your garden journal you have a written copy of the garden for reference. Acquiring knowledge of that specific plant, its traits, colors, and leaves will help in identification on this seed saving journey. Definition: A cultivar or variety has been bred or selected by humans to have desirable traits, such as straight leaves, brightly colored roots, or resistance to a particular disease.
There are many cultivars or a variety of radish, for example, Raphanus sativus. The first part of a scientific name is the genus name, and the second part is the specific epithet, offering descriptive information. Raphanus is the genus and sativus is roughly translated as “cultivated or domesticated” is the specific epithet. Cultivar or variety names are typically placed in single quotation marks following the species name (Raphanus sativus ‘Cherry Belle’, for example. Having even a small amount of understanding to the labels helps a great deal in saving true to type viable seeds that will grow every year and you get that red radish year after year. Here is where we start, next we go to when a plant has seeds ready to harvest, some are dry and some are wet. how to harvest, clean and save and with this, it takes time and patience. so take a minute, get good bright light, possibly a magnifying glass, a pencil and paper to take notes and even draw pictures. look closely at the seeds you have and be able to identify a tomato from okra. Seed saving is like making good wine to a vintner. We are in it for the quality and flavor.
Growing green and learning about seeds withJannie