The Importance of Seed Saving

What is seed saving, and why should you bother? First, what is it? Seed saving means not harvesting all of your crop each time, and letting it go to seed, or saving the seeds out of what you harvest to use for next years crop. That’s the basics, and while there are some really simple seeds to save (for instance, when you clean a jalapeno, put the seeds you scrape out on a paper towel and let them dry for a couple days. Bam. Saved your seeds), there’s actually a lot of complexity to some of them.

We’ve started doing some research on seed saving, and while this post isn’t going to go into much detail, one neat thing we learned is that you can cultivate and save seeds that will grow best in your yard. You do it by (again this is the bare-bones explanation) continuously saving seeds each year from the plants that do the best. You can also experiment with hybridization and other stuff, and I’ll really have to do a longer and more detailed post later!!!

But WHY should you save seeds? As I mentioned, one reason is to cultivate the best crop for your garden. But more importantly, it leads to your food independence. An interesting book I’ve read called Independence Days: A Guide to Sustainable Food Storage & Preservation  talks about having access to your own food stores as being the ultimate in self-sufficient living. We depend so much on grocery stores these days, and the author states that if there were some disaster to occur, those stores only carry three days worth of food at a time, and what will we do after that? She also says that many think “oh I can grow food if that ever happens,” but again, where will you get the seeds when the stores are empty? We also watched a really interesting documentary called Seed: the Untold Story (it was on PBS but it has vanished from online, you can  stream it for a cost) that tells the tale of how what used to be a very diverse food supply has been mainstreamed down to very few food varieties, and many of the older heirloom varieties are disappearing. Also, buying seeds each year costs money!

So! Take what you will from all that, there’s a lot of different reasons you might consider  saving seeds.

As I mentioned, things like peppers are super easy to seed-save from. Today I’ll tell you how to save seeds from green onions! One thing to note is that a lot of plants require you to leave them in the ground for two years to reap the seeds. Green onions, leeks, and carrots are a few examples. The onions pictured above are our green onions from last summer that overwintered. As this spring and summer progressed, the flowers dried and puffed open, exposing the lovely black seeds! My sweet Hubbins harvested the flowers, put them in a paper sack, and shook the dickens out of them. He then sort-of winnowed them, by sifting them between two bowls and letting the excess flower bits blow away. Not all of the blossoms were fully opened, so he has them ripening up a little in the paper sack, to try to save as many as possible.

seeds saved so far, you can see more seeds in the blossoms! 
We won’t be storing them in baby food jars forever (even though it looks super cute) because that takes up too much space, but he found a nifty origami tutorial for seed saving envelopes on YouTube, so we’ll probably make some of those. All in all, it took him maybe 20-30 minutes to get what we have so far, and that’s way more seeds than you would get in one envelope already! I hope to never buy green onion seeds again!

So, that’s it! Green onions are so easy to grow, and so easy to save seeds from! Now when all the stores are empty, we can eat onions to our hearts content, and no one will bother us, because we’ll smell super bad.


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5 thoughts on “The Importance of Seed Saving

  1. Great post! I just moved into my home in March and started my first urban garden, had always assumed we would save seeds but haven’t looked into it in detail yet!


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