"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Seed Saving Schedule 2011 - 2014

This is our seed saving schedule for 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. I am posting it here as a reference for myself and am not sure that it will really be relevant to anyone else's seed saving endeavours but it does give an idea of what the core crops we grow in our garden are. While we will be growing many more plants than are listed here, the plants shown below, with the exception of those with ? marks, are the ones we consider to be most important to us and have already had good success growing and saving seed from in previous years. I am going to try to put this on a more easily understandable spreadsheet when time permits and will add the PDF link to this post at that time.

All of the plants with question marks are ones that I am still contemplating saving seed off of for various reasons. For example, basil is an intricate member of our garden but I rarely have any luck getting them to set viable seed in our short season...but will continue to try as basil seed is very expensive. Perhaps by starting them earlier and growing in pots that can be moved into the greenhouse in the fall I will have more success. We will continue to save many other seeds not on this list, but only as time and the need to do so permits.

Alliums - (annually)
Yellow of Parma
Stuttgarter - 2012?

Allium divisions and seed - (annually)
Egyptian Walking Onion
Red of Florence Bunching Onion

Amaranth - (2 year rotation)
Hopi Red Dye - 2012

Beans - (annually)
Kentucky Wonder
Painted Lady Runner
Scarlet Emperor Runner

Beets/Chard - (3 year rotation)
Chard, mixed - 2011
Cylindrical - 2011
Crapaudine (red) - 2011
Detroit Dark Red - 2012
Mammoth Red Mangle - 2013
Yellow Eckendorf - 2013?

Broccoli - (3 year rotation)
Note - save seed late in season to avoid crossing with kale
De Ciccio - 2011
Purple Peacock Broccoli - 2012
Umpqua Broccoli - 2013

Cabbage -
Melissa ?
Red Acre?

Carrots - (3 year rotation)
Imperator - 2011
Chantenay - 2012
Danver Half Long - 2013

Celery - (2 year rotation)
Red Giant - 2011
Ventura - 2012

Chicory - (3-4 year rotation)
Italian Dandelion - 2011
Red Belgian Endive - 2012
Green Belgian Endive - 2013
Batavian Endive - 2014?
Escarole - 2014

Corn - (2-3 year rotation)
Painted Mountain - 2011
Blue Jade - 2012

Cucumbers - (2 year rotation)
Boothby's Blond -2011
National Pickling - 2011?
Homemade Pickles - 2012?
White Stallion - 2012

Eggplant - (annually)
Long Purple
Apple green?

Herbs/Flowers - (1-3 year rotation)
Epizote - 2011
Spilanthes - 2011
Nasturtium - 2011
Calendula - 2011
Cilantro - 2011
Dill - 2011
Basil - 2011?
Red/Green Shiso - 2011?

Herb Seed and Root Divisions/Propagation (Annually or as needed)
Various thyme
Various oregano
Various Sage
Lemon Balm

Husk Fruit - (annually)
Ground Cherry
Green Tomatillos
Purple Tomatillos

Kale - (4 year rotation)
Note -save early to avoid crossing with broccoli
Beady's Camden - 2011
Dwarf Vates Blue Curled - 2012
White Russian - 2012
Red Russian - 2013
Lacinato Rainbow - 2013?
Dinosaur - 2014

Kohlrabi ? (see how 2010 seed performs)

Lettuce - (2 year rotation)
Arugula - 2011
Golden Purslane - 2011
Boc Choy - 2011
Black Seeded Simpson - 2011
Bloomingsdale Spinach - 2011
Red Mustard - 2011
Oakleaf - 2011
Mache - 2011
(Dave's) Speckled Trout - 2011?
Winter Density Romaine - 2011
Red Romaine - 2012
Winter Density Mix - 2012
Cress - 2012
Salad Burnett - 2012
Chervil - 2012
Mike's Red Lettuce - 2012
French Sorrel - 2013 (every 3rd year)

Parsley - (2 year rotation)
Curled - 2011
Hamburg - 2012?

Parsnip - (annually)
Hollow Crown
Harris Model

Peas - (annually)
Blue Podded

Peppers - (2 year rotation)
Purple Beauty - 2011
Red/Orange Banana - 2011
Jalapeno - 2011
Yellow/Red Cayenne - 2011
Mini Red Bell - 2012
King of the north Bell?
Sweet Italian?

Salsify/Scorzonera - (2 year rotation)

Squash/Zucchini - (3-4 year rotation)
Sugar Pie Pumpkin (pepo) - 2011
Black Zucchini (pepo) - 2011
(TC) Sweat Meat (maxima) - 2011?
Hubbard - (maxima) - 2012
Papya Pear (pepo) - 2012
Gold Nugget - (maxima) - 2013
Spaghetti (pepo) - 2013

Tomatoes - (annually as needed)
Note - keep cross pollination rate of about 1-4% in mind.

Tubers - (annually)
Garlic Mix

Turnip - (2-3 year rotation)
Purple Top - 2011


Sheryl at Providence North said...

Wow! That's a lovely long list of food grown!! You do very well in your growing season!

Dani said...

Wow - well done - that's a lot of plants - and a lot of seeds :-)

I don't have the planting area that could grow that amount of vegetables at the moment, but next summer... fingers crossed.

Daphne Gould said...

Wow you save a lot of seeds. I do a few, but not nearly as much. I can't really save seed from brassicas I just don't have the room. I also don't do the biennials (though I have done parsley) as most don't live during our winter. Previously I had 200+sqft of bed. In the new house I'll have about 600sqft of bed, but I'll be feeding two families so in a way it isn't any more space for the people eating out of it.

Anonymous said...

regarding basil - if you have the greenhouse space...basil actually propagates from cuttings REALLY easily. You just cut a little piece off and put it in a glass of water, stick it in some sun, and it sprouts roots in...well, for me it was within a week. It will wilt a little at first and then perk right back up. That's what I would recommend for you - as you're getting near the end of the growing season take a bunch of cuttings, root them, and then get them started in the greenhouse while everything else is dying off.

I have mine in containers and usually let them all just go to seed and come back in the spring, but that method is sort of hit or miss depending on where the seeds fall. ;)

phishlady said...

Thanks for sharing your list! We're starting the hunt in earnest this summer for a permanent home where we can set up with a goal of being self-sufficient. Reading your blog has been wonderful; we even choose many of the same vegetable varieties, but you're a few steps ahead of me so I get the benefit of learning from what you've already tried.

I really appreciate that you share your experiences! :)

phishlady said...

Are you really saving and replanting ground cherry seeds? Around here (Minnesota) I just have them in a permaculture-type bed with some other native plants; they reseed themselves just fine...

Also, are you not worried about your two runner beans crossing? I had decided to stick with just Insuk's Wang Kong because of that; or is it obvious in the seed coats when your varieties cross?

And finally, how do you plan on keeping the two pepo species from crossing - will you be out taking care of the flowers, or do you have enough space to keep them separated, or do you have another strategy...?


kelli said...

you're so organized! my skills are pretty pitiful, though i'm working on it. right now i'm planning my seed starting schedule.

thanks for providing me the seed saving link a few posts ago. i've got it bookmarked. what a great resource you are!=)

Mr. H. said...

Sheryl - It's taken us quite a few years of trial and error but we have finally found a few varieties the do really well in our particular garden climate.

Dani - It does seem like quite a bit but as this is one of my favorite parts of gardening and I do enjoy the challenge. I just needed to get a schedule in order that I could focus on.

Daphne - Wow, that is quite a big increase in space...you are going to be very busy and I look forward to hearing more about it. Yes, some seedy plants do take up a lot of room...and time.:)

Melissa - You know, I really should try to keep some going as you suggested on our one sunny window sill...maybe I will try that this next fall and see if I can overwinter a few plants.

Phishlady - I'm happy to hear that you have found our little blog to be of some use. I know that I certainly get a lot of good ideas on vegetable varieties from reading other peoples bogs. How exciting to be preparing for a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

The reason we save seed off our ground cherries is that we sell some of the plants in the early spring and while they do indeed readily re-seed themselves it is just about impossible to distinguish them from tomatillos that have done the same thing.:)

As to the runner beans, because they are so similar I have decided to grow them together going forward and not worry if they do cross with each other a bit. Also, we do separate the squashes into totally different garden plots. I have hand pollinated and "bagged" them before but would prefer not too.

Kelli - Trust me, I'm not nearly as organized as it might appear which is why I needed to write up this schedule. I need to start planning for seed starting as well...my least favorite part of gardening.:)

Mrs. Mac said...

This is a great place to jot down your seed saving facts ..

Word Verification:

icaspeas (I wonder if you have that variety of garden peas;)

michelle said...

Wow Mr. H, I'm totally impressed. Not only do you grow and preserve a lot of vegetables, but you manage to save all those seeds too! And you have such an interesting collection of varieties. Did you ever find a golden beet that you like?

Oh, and you might send your bread baking neighbor a link to wildyeastblog.com, the woman who writes that blog is an incredibly talented baker and she shares a lot of excellent information and recipes.

Mr. H. said...

Mrs. Mac - Yes, this will work good for me and keep us from saving things I don't need or forgetting those that we do. No Icaspeas in our garden, but I like the name.:)

Michelle - I have about given up on golden beets after being disappointed with every variety we have tried. I guess the giant Yellow Eckendorf beets we grow for the chickens will have to suffice.:) I must say that I was really intrigued by the Crapaudine Beets we grew last year though and will be trying them again. I'm also still trying to decide if I like Lutz beets, we had quite a few bolt to seed on us last year but the ones that didn't are really great as far as flavor and storage goes. I might try the Chioggia beets again this year too.

Thanks for the bread link, I will pass it on.:)


This is really great. We aren't quite there yet (we've only begun really rotating crops effectively) but with a symphylan infestation we are going to start seed saving soon. Those little buggers eat a lot of good seed!

Dave @ HappyAcres said...

If you were just growing all those varieties it would be quite an impressive list, but to be saving the seeds as well, it's truly amazing!

Your efforts are inspirational to say the least. I'm going to try and expand my horizons a bit this year and save a few more seeds. My wife and I heard a good speaker from The Great Pumpkin Patch last weekend while at a garden conference. He is heavily into saving all kinds of cucurbit seeds. It seems that seed saving might just be contagious!

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

I found that collecting seeds can be very time consuming. Sometimes in a month collecting from 4 plants still take weeks to process it. But I like your idea in rotating years for it. I suppose I should make a list of 2011 seed-saving as well. Flower are the easiest to collect, then herbs. For vegetables it is a constant battle with space as it takes longer to wait for the seeds. But I aim to collect eggplants, capsicum, cucumber and melon seeds this year which will be tricky with cross-pollination.

meemsnyc said...

Oh Wow!!! I am so impressed that you save seeds from all these varieties. I have to learn how to save seeds from plants that aren't as obvious, like Leeks!

Mr. H. said...

Granola Girl - We have some symphylan in our soil too but so far I think that they have not become an issue thanks to our chickens and all the wild quail eating them...hopefully it will remain that way.

Dave - I hope seed saving does become contagious...that would be a really good thing. I really enjoy saving seed, it's like a hobby in a sense so that in itself makes it easier for us. Mostly it just consumes a lot of time and space to save ones own seed and a basic understanding of how to do so...we are still working on that last part a bit.:)

Malay-Kadazan girl - Time and space are definitely the biggest drawbacks of seed saving. I always think of our parsley, being a biennial that has to be over-wintered in the garden and held all through the following season we were not able to get seed until early November off it this past year...that's a long time.:) It sounds like we will both be busy with seeds in the garden.

Meemsnyc - Leeks are not too bad, they will overwinter in the garden and start to flower the next season like an onion...now if I could just learn to grow them properly, mine are always small.:(

kitsapFG said...

Great list. I love how it not only cycles varieties in different years, but separates items that want to cross by early or late in the season as well. Smart!

Sense of Home Kitchen said...

That is an impressive list!


Anonymous said...

This is unrelated, but please can you tell me how you water such a large garden. I've been searching your previous posts, and am unable to find details, so forgive me if you've already discussed this!

I sure appreciate your wealth of information!

Chris Brock (under the Chestnut tree) said...

Hi Mr H. Your seed list a big one! A dedication to diversity!
I also find that saving on a rotational basis is better than trying to seperate plants in space - saves on stressing about bagging and netting.
With your beans - they are self pollinating except if you do find that there is a pollinator in your area. Have you ever suspected there is crossing going on? I have got lots of bean varieties at the moment growing together.
Now as for cabbages - have you been successful at saving seed from them?? I have tried before in the desert with not much success. Do you cut open the head or just remove the head and save seed from the resprouting parts? i have never seen the method described for cabbages....

Anonymous said...

What is your experience with tomato crosspollination? Is it true that fruits that are result of crosspollination are different, or is the cross pollination visible only in next generation? Do you keep different tomato varieties far from each other, so you don’t get them crossed, how far? Sorry, so many questions… I would like to grow a number of tomato varieties, but I would like be sure that seed that I will save at the end of the season will not be crossed.

Mr. H. said...

Laura - My biggest problem is that I want to save seed off so many varieties of kale...because I like them all.:) But yes, I am hoping to avoid issues of cross pollination with staggered timing and growing certain plants (squash) in separated plots.

Brenda - It is amazing to see how many plants are grown in the garden once they are all written down.

Karin - We water about 40% of our garden with soaker hoses and the rest with overhead sprinklers. All of these are attached to our "epicenter" which is simply a series of timers that help us to water at night and during the early morning. Our long term goal is to become ever more efficient with water, probably through the use of more soaker hoses and maybe even install a rainwater cistern of sorts. Thanks for visiting our blog.:)

Chris - One of our goals about 6 years ago was to become 100% seed self-sufficient in all of the crops that really matter to us and we are almost to that point. Now I just need to become a little more organized...hence the schedule.

I have only noticed a little cross pollination in beans when they are practically touching each other along the fences we grow them on....very little crossing, maybe one or two plants in an entire row and they can easily be rogued out if necessary. I would be very interested to hear how your beans do and if you suspect any have crossed.

Cabbages like Melissa can be overwintered in the garden (with luck) and come spring those heads will easily split open on their own...no need to cut. The whole plant can also be held over in the root cellar, if you keep the roots in dirt and the plant alive, and then replanted in the early spring. I have successfully saved seed off of and grown from that same seed nice cabbages from headless plants too...I really don't think it matters if the head is removed or not other than it is easier to handle a headless cabbage and easier to avoid that head rotting. The method that we are working on now is to overwinter hardy late planted cabbages that have not formed much of a head and allow them to seed in the spring. We are trying this with Melissa Cabbage this year. Our biggest problem is finding reliable varieties to grow...I think that Melisa and Red Acre are going to be those ones.

Mr. H. said...

vrtlarica ana - Tomatoes are self-pollinating and do not easily cross with each other because their flowers rarely open wide enough to allow insects in until they have already self-pollinated. The small percentage that do cross will have the results show up in the next generation and will be a different looking tomato.

Having said that, we have never once had any of our tomatoes cross with each other that I am aware of and grow many different varieties about 3 feet apart from each other. Cherry tomatoes and old heirlooms are supposed to be most susceptible to crossing with each other as their flowers are not as tightly shut...we have never had any of these cross either.

Some people think that the seeds off of fruits that develop later in the season are the best ones to save as the insects are then much more interested in other flowers and less likly to bother with tomatoes and the tomatoes at this time contain more seed.

Also keep in mind that as you and I live in different parts of the world it is possible that the insects in your area may cause more crossing issues than ours do.

Leigh said...

This is great! Thank you! You got my attention awhile back when you mentioned that you rotated the seeds you saved every year, but this list is truly helpful. It also relieves some of the beginning seed savers anxiety I've been experiencing!

Chris Brock (under the Chestnut tree) said...

Thanks for the tips on cabbages Mr H. I will now go forward with more confidence next spring.

Dani said...

Mr H - re: your PDF. Ddo you upload your PDF to Google docs and create a link to it on your blog?

Or is there another way you include a PDF on your blog?

Mr. H. said...

Leigh - Since all plants are a little different in how they produce seed it can be a little confusing. Our first step years ago was to buy a book on seed saving and then just start with simple things, mostly annuals that would produce seed that first year. Biennials came later and are just as easy other than the huge amount of time involved...so it is a bit of a commitment. If you ever have any questions about saving seed from a particular garden vegetable please feel free to ask.:) But yes, a written plan does simplify things.

Chris - If you do save cabbage seed one of these years I would love to hear how it goes for you.:)

Dani - I think I am actually going to use google documents to work on a template that can be shared with the public via a link. I will either use a spreadsheet that has already been set up
or create my own. I can then save it on my computer in PDF format.

Honestly, I am a bit illiterate when it comes to this stuff so we shall see what happens.

Dani said...

Mr H - I am technologically challenged - and my son is too busy to assist LOL. Would love to know how you do it.

Have read that one apparently has to upload the file to Scribd - know anything about that? Think you have to have a Facebook page - which I don't!

kelli said...

in response to your comment yesterday, sounds like you had a lovely day! i made kraut and am looking forward to trying the kim chi recipe in wild fermentation. i also put together a growing guide for sowing seeds outdoors this spring - a reference for myself and some friends in the area also fairly new to gardening. i'll be posting it soon.=)

happy monday!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

with all the bruhaha over the GMO sugar beet issue going on, there are more and more folks interesting in saving seeds. you are truly an inspiration!

we are getting ready for another round of extra cold. i have had it!

happy monday!

Chris Brock (under the Chestnut tree) said...

Hi Mr. H. No doubt i will have a post on my cabbage seeds as it is a vegetable i have wanted to save seed from for years...

Mr. H. said...

Dani - Once I get it figured out I will let you know, I have nver heard of Scribd but will check into it. Ah yes, technolgy is a wonderful thing but oh so confusing at times.:)

Kelli - On kraut, you must try doing it with red cabbage sometime if you have not already. We used red for the first time this year...so good.:) Have fun with that book.

Ohiofarmgirl - You might have to knit some sweaters for those turkeys of yours. Hope it doesn't get too cold for you...I'm ready for spring too.

Chris - I look forward to it.:)

Carolemc said...

Wow - very impressive as always - wish I could come to you for a few weeks of lessons in self-reliance!!

Anne said...

Basil will bolt under stress ( as will many plants). I save a lot of basil seed as we use a lot of it (and share most of it). If you pinch them young to get more branching out, don't trim the ones you want seeds from at all. Basil is one you keep picking so it doesn't get far enough to set flowers (which changes the taste)... to save seeds though... you don't trim the plant at all. Cutting back a bit on watering (and the heat of summer)stresses them a bit and triggers them to start sending out blooms.

Harvesting & cleaning the seed is rather time consuming. The seed mature at different rates on the plant. It has to be dry out.. basil has a naturally occurring coating that turns into a gel when it comes in contact with water.

I've used whiskey barrels (bamboo poles stuck in them and made an isolation tent out of tulle) The honey bees and sweat bees were always all over the flowers.

Actually... with tomatoes it is the evolution of the flower design. The "newer" varieties the style is shorter. Peppers can self pollinate before they even open their blooms.

Best of luck to ya! I know you can do it. :)

Mr. H. said...

Carolemc - You had better wait about 30 more years as I still have an immense amount to learn.:)

Anne - Thanks for the tips on getting seeds from basil I will use that information wisely. I wasn't aware of basil's gel coating...very interesting. I will have to read up on that some more.

LynnS said...

I find myself saving more and more seed every year. After buying some new seeds for the 2011 gardens, I realized this is getting expensive -- seed and postage are not cheap! I've never felt the need to rely on a scheduled list as you have, but it may become necessary as a way to double check seed saving efforts. Nice list to look over, thanks for sharing!

Frugilegus said...

An impressive list - and really interesting to see which are your essentials for self-sufficiency. I was pleased to see 'Mike's Red Lettuce' on the list - I wonder if that came about like a chilli I saved this year - labelled 'Kim's Dad's Vietnamese'? - heritage veg of a different kind!

I splashed out on new seeds when I got carried away with the joy of finally having some space to grow in so and had more than I could either plant or give away, so my saving has been very haphazard and undisciplined. But now supplies are getting old or running low ... I will be scouring your blog for tips in a few months.

johnnydesoto said...

I'm tired just reading that :P

Mr. H. said...

Lynn - The prices are indeed going up on seeds, no doubt fuel prices are having an effect on these companies as well. One also has to consider what will happen when all of the things you have been discussing come to pass and the seed companies are caught short in the supply department and are unable to meet demand. With many of the seeds we purchase I try to get at least two years worth or close to it. Saving our own is just another safeguard against all of this...and unlike starting the seeds I enjoy the saving part.:)

Frugeligus - We never have much luck growing the red lettuce varieties other than Red Romain that does really well for us, so many of our varieties are either green or speckled colored. So imagine my surprise when a few red lettuce seedlings popped up early one spring many years ago in the garden and were unlike any other lettuces we have grown. This particular lettuce grows really well and gives us copious amounts of seed, pictured above, too. Must be a cross or off-shoot of one of the other varieties we grow I suppose.

Johnny - I think it is just about more of a challenge to write it all down than it is to actually save the seeds themselves.:)

초록바다 said...

I am really impressed at the numbers of vegetable/herb seeds you plant and collect. I am specially jealous of squashes you can grow up there.... I cannot grow any of squash kinds you can grow because of squash vine borers.... :(

Mr. H. said...

Geni - Too bad about your squash, I think one of the advantages of living in a colder climate like we do is that we are able to avoid insects like squash borers...leastwise I've never been bothered with them.

Anne said...

I thought you'd be interested in taking a peek at this link... in particular the worksheets and record sheets about 1/2 way down. :)


fiona@fionacampbell.ca said...

Wow... what an amazing -- and inspiring! -- list! Thank you for sharing it. I agree with the other commenters -- you are such a great resource...

Mr. H. said...

Anne - Thanks for the link, especially the worksheets.

Mr. H. said...

Fiona - Thanks, I really appreciate that.:)

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