Saving Seeds?

This year I have grown the majority of my vegetable plants from purchased seeds. Can I save the seeds of the resulting plants for next year? If so, what is the best method to do this? TIA
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No simple answers... it depends... have a look at www.seedsavers.org, and if you're serious, get Suzanne Ashworth's "Seed to Seed" for much more information.
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at www.albany.net/~gwoods Zone 5/6 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
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wrote:

http://www.seedsave.org/issi/issi_904.html
also has some nice, simple information. It does not, however, mention much about hybrids.
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nutNhoney wrote:

If these are hybrid plants, the seeds coming from this year's plants might lose their hybrid characteristics.
Generally you select the best, healthiest plant, and let the fruit of that plant mature fully before harvesting seed from it. I think some people pull off other fruit (depending on the type of veggie) to force all the energy and growth into that particular plant that is to be used for seed. Then, of course, the seeds have to be thoroughly dry for storage and some, or maybe most seeds, have to go through a dormancy period in cooler or cold temperatures before they are started the next season. Some plants, like beans, are easy to see when they are ready because the pod turns a tan color and is crisp or brittle and the seeds inside are nice and hard. Tomato seeds are squeezed out of ripe fruit and the the resulting pulp containing the seeds allowed to ferment to remove the slimy coating from the seeds. Of course pumpkins and squash and cucumbers have a pretty massive pulp around the seeds that has to be removed completely, then the seeds allowed to dry thoroughly before storing.
Beets, carrots, and celery won't produce seeds because they require more than one year to produce seeds. Onions planted from seed will not produce seed the first year, but onion bulbs will because those are actually two year old plants and they produce seeds the second year.
All seeds have to be absolutely dry the entire time they are in storage. You might be able to use a refrigerator or freezer for the dormancy/cooling period.
There are books about how to save seeds. Maybe your local library can locate a copy for you.
Barb Wisconsin gardener
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Nuthoney :
This is really hard to determine, as you haven't mentioned where you purchased the seeds from or what type of seeds they are. Generally unless the plant is marked a 'heirloom variety' or you purchased the seeds off a reputable seed supplier, I would advise ' don't waste your time' Though in saying this I have saved lettuce and pumpkin seeds from yates packets that I still grow in my garden 5 years later.
Also some seeds are more difficult to save than others, due to a number of reasons. ie cross pollunation etc.
I own a book titled 'seeds savers handbook' by Michael & Jude Fanton found at www.seedsavers.net , which I find invaluable for seed saving (an australian site) and I buy seeds i want to save from www.diggers.com.au (again Australian site) Seeds such as corn are impossible to save, don't even try, and this list could go on with different processes in saving seeds. A good rule of thumb is : most vegetable seeds are fairly easy to germinate and save if the plant is not a hybrid, but with flowers and perinnials saving and germination can be become 'tricky'. ie stratification may be required etc.

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In my experience only greens warrant saving seeds (because you need lots) plus of course garlic and onions - or if you think you can no longer get seeds for the veggie you are growing. And of course you can save only heirloom seeds, no hybrids. I suppose you could consider saving parsnip seeds because they expire so quickly.
A $2.50 tomato heirloom seed packet lasts me ten years (in the freezer), and I grow 30 plants. I usually let mache, arugula, and tatsoi reseed freely in my garden which is a sort of labor-free seed saving (the patch can get messy, but the proper technique is to hoe right after their seeds have matured. They are usually the first to seed, having overwintered under cover, so it works). They provide two crops a year that way, and if you are willing to relocate some seeds, also ground covering under taller plants (and a few free salads). I used to let mustard greens do that, but they were so rampant I discontinued the practice. I have in the past used chicory and mache seeds (which are tough little plants with strong root systems) to "prime" a bare patch of clay in my lawn. I am happy I have my seed saving technique down pat, but hear me, unless you are willing to work at pennies per hour, seed is cheap.
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