It’s officially fall, I guess. I mean, I love this season, don’t get me wrong. But in all sincerity, it’s a lot of work, garden-wise. Granted, I haven’t exactly been the world’s best gardener this growing season. Between work and school and the bindweed taking over my front yard, I’ve done little to keep my personal Eden in top-shape, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t do my part to set myself up for success next year. Seed saving is the key to a diverse, economically-friendly garden, year after year.
Seed saving doesn’t have to be a vastly complicated venture, it’s as simple as a little foresight when you’re prepping your full-grown produce. Take tomatoes, for example.
Now, I should mention that I typically grow 5 or more different tomato plants per season. I don’t particularly care to eat tomatoes on their own (which is a shame, I know, but I’ve tried and it just doesn’t work for me) but I make a boatload of sauce to last us through the winter. On my 5 or more plants, I can easily grow enough to make more quarts of sauce than I actually need to freeze and still have enough left over for a few rounds of fresh salsa.
I used to scald my tomatoes before peeling them, which did save time I suppose, but now I just peel them raw while sitting on the ground and watching something tacky on Netflix, which is a win-win, because I get to watch Once Upon A Time without feeling guilty that I wasn’t productive. I save the skins and the cores that are too fibrous to be blended in the sauce to dehydrate and grind into tomato powder (delicious in olive oil for bread dipping) and squish the tomatoes into a large bowl (or vat) to be cooked down with garlic, onion, and herbs for sauce. While squishing the tomatoes, I save seeds on a paper towel and set aside to dry. I’m on my second or third harvest for most of these varieties, and each year I save lots of money by starting seedlings inside rather than buying starter plants from the nursery. Another bonus, each time I meet a tomato that I like, I save some of the seeds to grow for next year, as is the case with the pretty purple heirloom on the right that I got from some friends of mine.
I hope that you’ll give seed collection a try! It’s even easier if you want to start with something like squash. For those of you who already save your seeds, do you have any gems you’re especially proud of? Please share!
Until next time,