Buy seed,or save your own?

Harvesting and preserving your fruit & veg

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KMARKSnr
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Buy seed,or save your own?

Postby KMARKSnr » Wed May 31, 2006 8:28 am

Hi all,
I have saved seed from last years marigolds,lupins,impatiens,tomatoes,melon,calendula,onions etc,etc.
All have germinated,and grown very strongly indeed.
My question is this,- are there any "pitfalls"that i may be missing,and how come others rarely save their own seed ?

Any thoughts?
Regards,
Mark.
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Johnboy
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Postby Johnboy » Wed May 31, 2006 9:26 am

Hi Mark,
There are things that can be saved but they are generally the ones that are as 'cheap as chips'
and very little is gained.
If they are F1 Hybrids they are simply not worth it because you really have not the foggiest idea what you will get.
Having said that as an experiment I saved the seed from a very over ripe Galia Melon, which is an F1 Hybrid, a couple of years ago and in 2004 I grew them and if anything what I got was an improvement on the original Galia!
With most of the flowers you are safe and have kept Perennial seeds for donkey's years but with vegetables I generally do not.
Everything is worth a try once but you must be prepared for the disappointment of a failure.
It's not just the disappointment it is the lack of decent produce that is the real problem.
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Postby Angi » Wed May 31, 2006 7:28 pm

I agree with what Johnboy says, but he has failed to mention saving pea and bean seeds. This always seems worth doing in my opinion.
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Postby Johnboy » Thu Jun 01, 2006 5:03 am

Hi Angi,
Nice to hear from you.
A grave error on my behalf as I save both Peas and Beans (Runner and Broad) myself. These two are very well worth saving and probably the most effective.
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Allan
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Postby Allan » Thu Jun 01, 2006 7:26 pm

Quite a lot of herbs will sow their own seeds if you let them. This is the easiest way to propogate dill I use my own saved watercress seed and if you let montia (winter purslane, erstwhile claytonia) sow itself it is so successful that you can't control it into nice rows for convenience. Seakale beet is OK from your own selected plants. Among flowers I especially recommend hollyhock, honesty, love-in-a-mist, opium poppy, meconopsis cambrica.
Allan
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Postby Carole B. » Fri Jun 02, 2006 7:07 am

Anything with F1 after the name will not come true to type as it's a hybrid between two named parents,Johnboy was lucky and got a good melon but most of the time you wont.Non-F1 tomatoes are worth doing because the seed is expensive and french beans,climbing and dwarf,are good because they usually stay true.I have done onions but you need to prevent pollen from other onions getting on the flower head and grow them on for the second year to get the flowerhead so it's a bit of faffing about.
I also save my own SweetPeas but as I just let them scramble about the flower bed I'm not too bothered what I get!
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Postby Johnboy » Fri Jun 02, 2006 7:39 am

Hi Carole,
I must stress that the growing of the Melons was purely an experiment. The thought behind that was if it was crossed with another Melon then I may get something and was totally suprised and delighted with the outcome. Certainly it could have been an entirely different ball game. For example with Iceberg Lettuces I understand that one of the partners of the hybrid is a type of Wall Lettuce which is a weed in several parts of UK.
I have had Swiss Chard (Seakale Beet) self seed on me as has Perpepual Spinach but that was due to sheer neglect on my behalf as normally these plants have been cleared and the ground prepared if not sown with the next crop by the time these seeds are ready to collect.
With the Runner beans that I save, and I used to grow two varieties, they have sort of hybrided themselves and I just grow Beans for myself so it really doesn't matter. French Climbing and Dwarf Beans however are self fertile so the chances of them crossing is pretty slender. The point I am trying to get across by all means save your own seed but you must be prepared to take the consequences which can be catastrophic. Remember that in the plant world promicuity is rife. They put us Humans to shame at it!!
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Geoff
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Postby Geoff » Fri Jun 02, 2006 12:45 pm

The seeds that are cheap are cheap because it is easy so probably not worth the bother to save a few pence. The seeds that are expensive are probably expensive because they are difficult or they are F1 so probably not worth the risk of failure. As you can gather, I don't think it is worth trying.
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Postby Johnboy » Fri Jun 02, 2006 3:20 pm

Hi Geoff,
All in all you are right. But things like Peas and Beans are really collected almost by accident. Ones miss on the pickings that have gone too far as to be edible I simply leave as seed.
Dwarf Beans I leave to make Haricot's so there is no problem there. Climbing French Beans I always buy in simply because they do not make good seed hereabouts
and I freeze them but do not freeze Runners.
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Carole B.
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Postby Carole B. » Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:37 pm

There's also a lot of fun and satisfaction to saving your own and some un-listed seed from unusual varieties of ,say,tomatoes are not buyable but that doesn't mean that they are not worth the domestic gardener growing them.I've got a great tomato called 'Spanish Globe' growing from my own saved seed at the moment,it came from the HDRA Seed Library originally and it's a good meaty fruit with impressive blight resistance,It's been fun to see the whole circle of growth all the way round.Just like Johnboy and his Melon experiment,it's interesting!
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Postby Tigger » Sat Jun 03, 2006 1:23 am

I brought some tomatoes back from Sicilly a couple of years ago, from which I've saved seed. They're particularly good for growing in tunnels as they are used to extreme temperatures. This year I haven't actually sown them as they have self sown into the gravel of one of my tunnels, from whence I have transplanted a number of new plants.

We'll watch and see........
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Postby Allan » Sat Jun 03, 2006 10:05 am

Johnboy, not to labour the point and start a discussion OT, but I was under the impression that Iceberg is not a specific variety but a general description of type, as is Romano. It is news to me that there are F1 hybrids but hardly surprising given the importance of Iceberg in retail trade terms, there are certainly non-F1's such as Saladin.
As this has nothing to do with seed saving beyond the point that one wouldn't usually safe F1 hybrids,if you wish to go into it any further you will find this message repeated as private mail .
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Johnboy
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Postby Johnboy » Sat Jun 03, 2006 10:58 am

Allan,
There is a lettuce actually named 'Iceberg' which has now been superseeded by 'Iceberg 2' and when it goes to a 2 it is an improved seed and no longer has an F1 rating because it has been further hybridized by introducing something else.
There are many Lettuces that will produce the classic Supermarket 'Iceberg'and they all belong the the Crisphead Group of Lettuces and they are all Hybrids and do not breed true.
This is what happens to some of the Tomatoes they are an F1 for a few years then they improve it and it can therefore no longer be classified af an F1.
I have found that many Lettuces do breed true
'The Lollo Series' do quite successfully and Green Salad and Red Salad likewise.
The information about Iceberg and the Wall Lettuce Hybridizing was information from a Geneticist working for Nickerson Seeds who had helped to produce several varieties.
This is a copy of the PM awaiting you.
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