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Author Topic: seed saving  (Read 877 times)

  • Joined Apr 2018
  • nr Forfar
    • Holos Homeopathy
seed saving
« on: March 14, 2019, 09:47:56 am »
I grow vegetables and salad crops using organic methods and save as much of my own seed as possible, which saves me money every year. In January I made an appeal on this forum for other organically-minded seed-savers to get in touch and maybe form a wee seed-swap clubbie. Not one single reply!

I am interested in why people are not connecting with this. After a couple of generations my saved seed is 'hefted' to my local environment and is generally more vigorous, disease resistant, and prolific than the original seed.

Does anyone save their own seed? perhaps its my 'organic' status that is the problem, but I am interested in hearing from anyone who saves their own seeds whether they grow organic or not. What do you save? what kind of germination rates do you get? do your saved seeds produce more prolifically than standard seed from the packet?
best wishes to you all.


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: seed saving
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2019, 01:20:09 pm »
Hi Neil
Seed saving is something I want to do, but haven't started, apart from some beans and peas which are easy.  Obviously for seed saving you need to start with open pollinated, non hybrid seeds.  Where I live, growing vegetables is decidedly hit and miss, so I tend to go for the ones, usually hybrids, which I know do well. I do avoid continental seeds, even British varieties produced overseas and I buy some seeds from Real Seeds who encourage your own seed saving.
Last year we had a self seeded tomato plant which did very well, no blight and seemed to resist the red mites. I couldn't save seeds from it as they could well not be true to type, so instead I took a couple of cuttings which I have overwintered.  Time will tell if it was worth it.
I think that beyond peas and beans, it all becomes too complicated for me, keeping plants far enough apart not to cross pollinate, and all the rest.  Life at the moment is hard enough!!
For a number of years I kept back the best garlic to replant each year, hoping to develop a type suited to my growing methods.  My father had done that for years and had brilliant garlic.  Mine just got worse year on year!

I will be interested though to find out if anyone else saves their seed as it is something I know I 'should' be doing, being organic and wanting to keep my bills down.  Hopefully someone will spring out of the woodwork  :garden:
« Last Edit: March 14, 2019, 01:23:12 pm by Fleecewife »

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  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: seed saving
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2019, 01:59:50 pm »
We only save squashes and beans at the moment. Seeds here are very expensive but I made the mistake of buying cheap in England for use down here and the end results were terrible. French beans here grow like runner beans, not the little bushes in English varieties and strains are adapted to the heat and strong sunlight. The practice here though is to grow overwintering crops to save the extensive watering necessary.

We don't do organic as such, but certainly can't use insecticides or weedkillers because of the free-ranging chickens and dog and we do worry about the effect on the environment and nature anyway. Our friends tried tomato seeds but the results were terrible as the original plants were some kind of hybrid we think?

Briggsy from Gower

  • Joined Nov 2018
Re: seed saving
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2019, 06:03:49 pm »
Hi Neil,

I have started saving seeds over the last couple of years. I must have missed your January posting or I would have replied then.

Yes, definately up for a seed swop group. I grow organically and am interested in crops that I can keep going year on year.

So far I have had great success with tomato, peppers, peas, beans, radish, celery, tsoi sim and some herbs. I hope to up my game this year.

Count me in. I think it is so important that these skills are not lost and that we do not let the genetic pool shrink to a small number of varieties controlled by the seed companies.

Always happy to share advice, tips and failures!

« Last Edit: March 16, 2019, 06:12:38 pm by Briggsy from Gower »

  • Joined Apr 2018
  • nr Forfar
    • Holos Homeopathy
Re: seed saving
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2019, 12:20:29 pm »
Thank you everyone for these replies, there may be more to come.
I buy my organic  seed from the Seed Cooperative, who also have a few heritage varieties. Its good quality seed from a community-owned seed supplier.
I also get seeds from the Garden Organic Heritage Seed Library

Briggsy you are saving more than I do, but I am learning fast. Its getting a bit late now so I will be in touch again at the end of this year re swapping some seeds with you and hopefully by then I will have a few other people interested.

Chrismahon, I am also not registered organic, but I grow to the principles of 'feed the soil not the plant' and avoid toxins of all kinds, so its as organic as it gets. Your beans sound like they grow like fury in the warm air. I am happy to exchange beans with you but I don't grow squashes. I am growing a heritage French bean called Blue Coco from my own saved seed for the first time, so will update on the results later this year.

From last years crops I saved five different tomatoes, three chilli peppers and several types of beans and peas. These are all easy, they tend to self-pollinate and grow true to type. Toms have flowers that contain both male and female parts so each flower pollinates itself. I grow all heritage varieties obtained from Seed Coop and from the Heritage Seed Library and most flowers fruit true to type, even when I grow five varieties side by side in my poly tunnel.

Interesting what you say, Fleecewife, about your f1 toms reverting. I agree that beyond peas beans and toms it all gets harder. My cucumbers don't replicate true unless they are tens of meters apart, or isolated in some way. But hey - its great fun growing what grows easy, and its a good general principle for gardening up here in Scotland.

Keep up the good work! I will organise a swap club as soon as we have a few potential members.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2019, 09:10:59 am by AngusKip »


  • Joined Dec 2012
Re: seed saving
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2019, 05:39:33 pm »
Also missed your January post. Got our seeds from Tamar this year, a few disappointments though. Am in the process of taking out shares in the seed cooperative, the minimum is £100 So paying over 4 months. Been to a talk by them and was very impressed. Not saving seeds as yet but would like to go to keep the cost down. We grow a lot in polytunnels and our bees like to pollinate them so not sure what would come true?

  • Joined Apr 2018
  • nr Forfar
    • Holos Homeopathy
Re: seed saving
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2019, 07:43:39 am »
The Seed Cooperative are on a mission to change the way food is grown in the UK. Choosing heritage varieties boosts and preserves biodiversity, as most of these varieties are not listed on the European seed list; seeds cannot be legally sold in Europe unless listed. Seed swapping preserves biodiversity, returns ownership of seed types to the community, saves money and reduces the power of the giant seed companies vying for domination of the seed market. Quiet anticapitalist activism.

This is the guide I use for seed saving information.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2019, 07:52:53 am by AngusKip »

Briggsy from Gower

  • Joined Nov 2018
Re: seed saving
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2019, 11:12:15 am »
I buy seeds from The Real Seed Company in Pembrokeshire. They have a similar ethos to the Seed Cooperative. They gather rare varieties from all over the world and test them for their suitability in our UK climate. They encourage all their customers to save seed and give clear seed saving information with each purchase as well as an online guide on their website.

I have been very impressed with everything I have bought from them.

Yes it is true that things get more complicated once you move past peas/beans and toms. My plan is to only save seed from one type of each crop at a time. Fortunately if stored well seeds remain viable for many years, so you do not need to save from each of your crops every year.

For example, in the brassica family, last year was tsoi sim early, then radish, this year komatsuma (fantastic plant if you have not heard of it) are already flowering in the polytunnel, I will plant cabbage this year for seeds next year and so on, you get the idea!


  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: seed saving
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2019, 05:49:55 pm »
I grow & save intentionally the biggest problem is reserving enough space for several plants for up to two years . ie you need something like 16 flowering carrots a foot apart of the same variety to ensure true to type seeds

 I did have a giant cabbage seed from a friend that produced a cabbage almost two feet across , the seeds produced a very mediocre plant that was barely six inches across. I suppose if I'd have had several cabbages in flower the type would have been set as the pollinators would have had lots of same type flowers to get pollen from to set the standard .
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting


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