About Bellingen Seedsavers

We are a group of like-minded growers of edible and useful heritage plant varieties in the Bellingen area of northeast New South Wales, Australia.

Our climate varies from frost-free coastal areas to inland river valleys and highlands with frosts. Bellingen has an average annual rainfall of 1507ml.

Thursday 27 June 2019

Gardening Australia Seed Saving Fact Sheet with video link

SERIES 21 Episode 32

Jerry says the most important seed saving rule is to save seeds from the best plants and to eat the rest. "It's important to only save seed from non-hybrid plants and these are commonly referred to as heritage, old-fashioned or open pollinated plants. They are the plants most likely to produce offspring - in the form of seed - that closely resemble their parents."

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Most seed, such as that from lettuce, are dry. To save them it's simply a case of removing them from their capsules and storing them somewhere cool and dry. When it comes to fleshy seed, however, such as tomatoes, Jerry says there are two ways of saving seed. 

A traditional method is to soak the pulp in water overnight to allow it to ferment. This removes the natural germination inhibitors and, after washing and straining through a sieve, the seed can be dried and stored.

Jerry says he always has success saving tomato seed with his simple method. "I slice the tomatoes, squeeze the pulp directly onto paper towelling and let them dry. When I'm ready to sow the seed, all I do is cut off a piece with four to six seeds on it and sow them in a pot".

When saving your own seed genetic variations might become apparent. Most of Jerry's 'Red Russian' Kale has the characteristic deeply-cut leaves but one plant has really big simple leaves which, Jerry says, may actually be an improvement. Jerry will save seed from the plant to find out.

Jerry also has a variation of 'Giant Red' mustard that has light green leaves, and a crested leaf on an Asian Green that normally produces a plain, spoon-like leaf. "Four generations ago, I spotted a crested leaf cultivar, saved the seed and it came true to type. Now I have my own personal variety of Crested Dai Gai Choy!" 

Jerry says that saving seed helps to adapt plants to your own garden conditions. The 'Red Russian' kale, which is endemic to freezing climatic conditions is slowly adapting to the subtropical climate in Jerry's Brisbane garden.

Jerry says "Seed saving has given me better adapted plants and my own, personal cultivars."

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