Mom wants kids to help carry on seed-sav­ing tradition

The Palm Beach Post - Residences - - Treasure Coast / North - Jef­frugg

Ques­tion: When I was a kid, my mom and the neigh­bor ladies would gather seeds from marigolds and other plants. They spent the af­ter­noon do­ing some­thing to them; then, in the spring, they re­planted them with great suc­cess. I want to do that with my daugh­ters. What do I need to do?

An­swer: If you know of a plant that you want to save, there are a few things to do. First, wait un­til the seeds are ma­ture, and pick only healthy-look­ing seed heads or fruit.

In the fall, al­most all seeds are ready to be saved if they are still on the plant. Ear­lier in the sea­son, you might want to tie a pa­per bag or a ny­lon stock­ing over the end of the plant to col­lect the seeds be­fore they fall off or blow away.

Next, clean as much chaff off the seeds as pos­si­ble. This is what your mom and friends were do­ing all af­ter­noon. Chaff hides in­sects and their eggs. It also might be moist, which will en­cour­age fun­gal dis­ease or cause the seeds to rot dur­ing stor­age.

If you col­lected berries or other fruits, like to­ma­toes or cu­cum­bers, you will need to get the seeds out of the “gooey stuff ” (a tech­ni­cal term used by botanists) be­fore let­ting the seeds dry out.

Save and store only clean, dried seeds. Place them in a cool, dry lo­ca­tion in pa­per bags, not plas­tic. Plas­tic bags re­tain too much mois­ture, which helps fun­gal dis­eases grow.

La­bel the bags! You will for­get what seed is in what bag, and other peo­ple might throw them away if they are not la­beled. The la­bel needs to state the kind of seed, with as much de­tail for the name as you know.

The la­bel also needs to list the lo­ca­tion and date they were gath­ered. Know­ing how old the seeds are will be use­ful in the fu­ture. Seeds slowly grow while stored, and they even­tu­ally die if not planted. Some seeds can last for many years, while oth­ers should be planted the fol­low­ing spring.

Most seeds should be stored in a cool, dry lo­ca­tion. The veg­etable drawer of your re­frig­er­a­tor is a good place for them. The pa­per bags of seeds can be stored in air­tight con­tain­ers in the drawer.

An­other stor­age tech­nique (that is more or­ga­nized) is to use one of the three sizes of Seed Keep­ers found on seed­keeper com­pany.com.

File your seed packs be­hind A-Z di­viders that keep the packs up­right, so thy­don’t spill.

Other seed-sav­ing prod­ucts on the web­site in­clude glas­sine en­velopes and la­bels. Glas­sine is a very thin, smooth pa­per that is air- and wa­ter­re­sis­tant.

— cour­tesy Creators.com

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