Saturday, August 31, 2013

Looking To The Future

For the last several weeks I have been taking advantage of the warm weather and looking to next years gardens. As I pick most crops I either leave some of the fruit in the field or save some to plant next years crop. 

You've seen them in my garden pictures before. Onions plants with flowers on top waiting for the seeds to dry and be gathered. 

Tiny black onion and chive seeds at the bottom of a dishpan waiting to be cleaned and bagged.

Bags of seeds going on the freezer to preserve them. Especially onion seed which can be very temperamental !

Bowls of dried dill seeds waiting to be used in pickles but the remainder will become next years dill patch.

With each bean shelling a tray or two of seeds allowed to dry for next year

Trays of pea seeds drying in the afternoon sun on the old picnic table with me watching the sky for rain clouds. 

And the odd collection of jars and bottles holding my priceless collection of seeds that you see me drag out each year come spring. 

O Wise One and I have decided we are just getting too many seeds for all those little bottles so we are changing the way we do things. 

So as the beans and purple hull peas thoroughly dry we are starting to put them in vacuum bags  and seal them. Our plan is to keep a box in the freezer for all the seeds and we hope that this will take up much less room than all those bottles and jars in the pantry. 

Now for those of you living off grid it's okay! I have saved seeds for decades without freezing them. You don't have to. Just keep them dry and in the coolest and darkest place possible and you are fine on most things. They say they last longer frozen though. Since I have never done it this way I will let you know.     

For right now we remove the red beans and purple hulls from trays and vacuum seal them in bags. Each bag holds 1 pound (16 oz.) of seeds. Purple Hull pea seeds sell on average for $1.85 an ounce. A pound runs about $14.99

Red bean seeds run about the same if you could find this kind. So you have about $89.94 worth of seeds there if I were to have to buy them. 

This is just one of the reasons I save seeds. 

Yesterday I shelled horticulture beans and today I have 3 trays of beans drying on the picnic table.  

And the greatest thing about it is that any beans or peas that I don't plant next year I can cook as dried beans.

With the amount of gardening I do and the size of the gardens that I grow I save hundreds of dollars every year by finding an open pollinated variety that I like the taste of that grows well in my area and saving the seeds from year to year. 

I also have to admit that it has taken me at the least two decades to experiment with varieties to find the ones that I like that grow well in this area and it's climate. If I were to move I would have to start all over again. And I still experiment with varieties adding and changing varieties each year.   

Right now I have seed corn drying in the field and tomato seeds and cucumber seeds sitting in water fermenting. As I do each crop of seeds I will try to post how it is done for those of you that have requested more information on seeds saving. 

Just curious to know how do you store your saved seeds?

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


  1. When we first started gardening and discovered the cost of seed (gracious, that was a bunch of money!), we decided that was our last year of major seed purchases. Since then, saving seed each year has become a regular part of our gardening and preserving routine. Christmas lima beans, white half runners, crookneck squash, cow horn okra, different types of crowder peas, Candy Roaster squash, etc. It's always fun to try a new type of seed, and it's great when we are given a new type of seeds from friends.

  2. We started saving our seeds a few years ago. We do the same as you, dry them outside in the sun and then store them in a cool dark place. If we don't store them in a jar, they are stored in the freezer. I am just hoping that our garden will do better next year.

  3. We put them in ziplock bags, then store them in 5 gallon buckets with a gamma seal lid, tucked under a shelf in our storeroom.

    Thank you for sharing. We are relatively new at saving seeds and this is very helpful to us.


  4. On a much smaller scale, I store mine in old film canisters & keep them in the garage fridge. Mostly tomato & pepper seeds so far. Can't wait to grow beans & corn to save some from those as well.

  5. I am pleased to see you doing it Granny Pruett's way...except for the vacuum.

  6. I put mine in ziplock bags and then put them in tins in the basement... I remember lots of the old timers in Texas putting them in the freezer.. I never have.

    I enjoy seeing how you save your seed. I've always saved some, but not all that I plant. Mainly I save tomato, pepper, & okra seeds. I've saved a few other beans Scarlet Runner & Greasy Beans and used to save another heirloom seed but I've lost it now. :(

  7. CQ,

    I dry mine on cookies sheets as you do and food save them for the freezer.


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