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Seedsavers Unite! Come One, Come All!

The Growing Challenge Advanced Edition:  From Seed To Seed

Hello everyone! Welcome to our first Growing Challenge post since we began the new challenge! So far there are 46 participants signed up for The Growing Challenge: From Seed To Seed. They are:

  1. Jules, The Garden of Plenty, Melbourne, Australia – zone 9-10
  2. Jena, Married To The Farm, Caro, Michigan – zone 5
  3. Amanda, You Reap What You Sow, South Central Pennsylvania – zone 6-7
  4. Jen, Toward Arcadia, Michigan – zone 5-6
  5. Deb G, Bee Creative, Pacific Northwest – zone 7
  6. Greeen Sheeep, Wisconsin – zone 4
  7. Kory, Kicking And Screaming, Central New York – zone 5
  8. Abbie, Farmer’s Daughter, Connecticut – zone 6-7
  9. Margaret, Margaret’s Ramblings, Nottingham, England – zone 8
  10. SusanB, Southern New Jersey – zone 6b-7
  11. Karin, Fleecenik Farm, Central Maine – zone 4
  12. Kelsie, Hobbit’s Feat, Kentucky – zone 7
  13. Monica, Northern Ohio – zone 5-6
  14. Jen, Aaron-N-Jen: Living Life Simply, Iowa – zone 5
  15. Di, Path To Greendom, Southern California – zone 10
  16. TomB, My Simple Home Garden, Central Massachusetts – zone 5b
  17. Judy, My Freezer Is Full, East Central Iowa – zone 5a
  18. Julie, Towards Sustainability, Newcastle, NSW, Australia – zone 9-10
  19. Dina, Hip Chick Chronicles, Portland, Oregon – zone 8-9
  20. Alana, (Alana, where are you growing?)
  21. Milkweed, Milkweed Diaries, Swannanoa Valley, North Carolina – zone 6-7
  22. Melanie J, Ember’s Lighthouse, Jacksonville, Florida – zone 9a
  23. Risa B, Stony Run Farm, Western Oregon – zone 8
  24. Maureen, Fotos By Meg, Central Valley, California – zone 9
  25. Amy Crump, Crump Family Blog, Chapel Hill, North Carolina – zone 8
  26. Rob, Rob’s World, Burien, Washington – zone 8
  27. The Rachface, This Evolutionary Life, Virginia – zone 8
  28. Janice, Going Off Da Grid Janice, California – zone 8-9
  29. Green Bean, Green Phone Booth, Bay Area, California – zone 9
  30. Daphne, Daphne’s Dandelions, Winchester, Massachusetts – zone 6
  31. Briel, (Briel, where are you growing?)
  32. Jimmy Cracked-Corn – zone 5
  33. Lisa, Domestic Accident, Southern Coastal Maine – zone 5-6
  34. Hannah, The Purloined Letter, Takoma Park, Maryland – zone 7
  35. Suzan, Scrub Oak, Rocky Mountain southern foothills (6,700 feet) – zone 4
  36. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener, (CVG, where are you gardening?)
  37. Onemotherslove, What’s He Up To Now?, North Central Texas – zone 8
  38. Red Icculus, Red-Icculus.comzone 5
  39. Jocele, Knitting On Call, Idaho – zone 6-7
  40. Matt, Florida – zone 9
  41. Sara, Mama Craft, Canada – zone 3a
  42. Tyra, Tyra’s Garden & The Greenhouse In Tyra’s Garden, Vaxholm, Sweden – zone 6
  43. Inadvertentfarmer, The Inadvertent Farmer, Western Washington – zone 8
  44. Lauren, (Lauren, where are you gardening?)
  45. Melody, Merrie Melody, (Melody, where are you gardening?)
  46. Melinda, One Green Generation, Seattle, Washington – zone 8

I’ve added everyone’s name, blog, location, and hardiness zone. Please check your info to make sure I have it right. Let’s all visit, support, and learn from one another!

The topic for discussion today is:

What Do You Already Know? And What Information Do You Need?

In other words, can you offer any advice to those who have never done this before? And if you’ve never done this before, what can we tell you to make it easier?

Please feel free to chime in whether or not you are officially taking part in the challenge. Those who are new to all of this may find good information here. And those seasoned seedsavers may be able to help some of us new to the challenge.

And The Growing Challenge participants, please feel free to check in here as well.

Leave links to your gardening posts, too, if you like. Chat away!

Similar Posts:

24 comments to Seedsavers Unite! Come One, Come All!

  • I love the variety of zones. This will be interesting to follow.

  • monica

    We are planting beans, peas, corn, tomatoes, potatoes (sweet and regular), squash, sunflowers, carrots, onions, and a variety of herbs that are those that attract the good bugs (like bees) and those that send them off. I am still reading up on which ones are truly beneficial and which are advertised as such, but don’t really provide much benefit. some books say contrary tidbits and not really sure what is truth and hype.

    On another note:

    Mt Healthy Hatchery is having a 5 cent sale on their chicks until Feb 13th. I called them this morning and she said that they can be delivered when you are ready for them. I am not good with hyperlinks and all that, but they have a toll free #: (800)541-5603. I think the minimum is 15 chicks. ANYBODY that is budget tightened needs to check this out! Regular pricing on chicks is about 1.75 per bird at the cheapest bargain basement pricing.

  • I would like to know if there is anyone in my area – Nottingham, UK

  • Nothing new to report in my garden… since it’s covered under about a foot of snow right now. I’m wondering about saving seeds from lettuce. My goal used to always be NOT to let my lettuce go to seed, so I’ve actually never seen the seeds forming on my lettuce. I had some that I was letting go as an experiment in the fall, but then it got too cold and they died. So how do you collect them?

  • Hi Abbie,

    Our garden in NE Illinois also is covered by about a foot of snow. Can’t wait for spring!

    I have some experience saving seeds of leaf lettuces. They have yellow dandelion-like flowers, which then turn into the “fuzz balls” that we’re used to seeing on dandelions. It takes a while for the seeds to mature, though, before you can remove them from the plants. I watch the lettuce plants for a while after the fuzz balls appear. When I can pull the seeds off easily from the plants, they’re ready. The kind of complicated part, though, is that the seeds don’t all mature at the same time, even on the same plant. So you have to check the plants and harvest seeds daily for a while.

    I suppose you could try covering some of the fuzz balls with a cloth or paper bag, leaving it on for a while, and then shaking the seeds into the bag. I haven’t tried doing this yet.

  • I’m VERY new to seed saving tho we have gardened for 20yrs. (how sad is that?) so I am anxious to learn all I can.

    Also, we are in the Central Valley CA and our biggest problem is that it gets so dang hot, things go to seed a bit too easily, tho we do enjoy a wonderful harvest all winter.

    This is our first year for potatoes, the plants are up and growing but hard to tell what’s going on under ground.

    ….I would love to hear from other ‘Heat Zone’ folks!

  • Nothing new here either, as we are covered in snow too. Although it is melting with these record breaking highs we are experiencing in Alberta. I can feel Spring coming, but I know it is still far away and we will certainly get more cold and snow before its over. I see I am all alone in my zone, but at least there are a few close by. I’m somewhat new to this. Looking forward to participating in this challenge.

  • We’re also under lots of snow here in Iowa. I had a chance to meet with my garden partner and we hammered out who is getting what. We will be planting 5 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, 4 different peppers and lots more. It seems like a lot but we are feeding 2 families. I can’t wait to get started but it will be March before I can even start my seedlings inside. We get frost until mid May here.
    New for me this year I’m growing broccoli. We love it but have never tried to grow it from seed. Anyone with any pointers?

  • Hi Melinda
    Thanks for popping by my blog, I’m in southern CA nr Los Angeles, zone 10

  • I forgot to mention my zone which is 4 – for the most part. Rocky Mountain southern foothills about 6700 feet. I’m excited to get growing!

  • There is about a foot or two of snow outside, but I’m not going to let that stop me. I’m going to do tomatoes hydroponically. I found some organic hydroponic nutrients and put an order in today. I also started the seeds since I figure I’ve got a few weeks before I actually have to feed the plants.

  • I’m going to trying sprouting the pea seed that I saved last year soon to see they are viable. It’s the first vegetable that I’ve saved seeds for besides beans (I’ve also done various flowers). I’m working on deciding what I want to focus on for saving seed and where I’m going to grow them (some of the crops need to be separated so they won’t cross).
    Also need to come up with a labeling system that will work for me-I always lose the labels I make.

    I was very excited to find out I did have spinach in the cold frame. Might try starting some lettuce inside and then transplanting to the cold frame. No snow (yet!), it’s 25 F this morning and as clear as can be….

  • I’m gardening in zone 5. Thanks for the shout out!

  • I had a dream last night the three + feet of snow we have all melted. I was very disappointed when I woke up.

    I have a question about saving tomato seeds.
    Do you just spread them out on a screen or something and let them dry?
    Or, do you have to do the fermenting in a jar of water thing that I have seen Martha Stewart do?

  • Judy,
    I too garden in Iowa, (zone 4) the only advice I have for broccolis is choose your variety carefully. I’ve had several varieties not head quickly enough for our short growing season. Also, do your homework with saving brassica seeds. Brassicas are bienniel and kinda tricky.

    Greeen Sheeep,
    Yes, you MUST ferment your tomato seeds before drying and storing them for the winter. That goo that surrounds the seeds is an anti-germinator. If you don’t ferment it off you won’t have any germination in the spring. There are good tutorials online with pictures. I collect little glass jelly/mustard jars all year for use in this endeavor, that way I can keep all my varieties seperate when fermenting.

  • Judy who is growing broccoli, I’m hoping this isn’t the plant you are trying to save seed from. Brassicas are really hard – in the expert category for saving seed. They won’t self pollinate and produce viable seed with themselves (self-incompatible). You would have to use a bud pollination technique or cross them with another brassica.

    If anyone is worried about joining the challenge and wants an easy plant to save seed from, I have lots of dill seed I’d be happy to send out (send me an email). I have some parsley too that I saved seed from, but it would be bad for the challenge since it is a biennial. Dill is nice however. It attracts lots of beneficial insects and if you are lucky you will get black swallowtail caterpillars munching on it (or I suppose that could be unlucky if you want to eat it yourself, but I always grow enough for both of us – I love my butterflies).

    This year for the challenge I want to save seed from my squash. My C. moschata “Neck Pumpkin” ought to be easy since it is the only moschata in my garden. I have two varieties of zucchini that I’m planning on growing. If they both don’t die on me, I’ll have to have the chore of taping both female and male blossoms closed and hand pollinating then taping closed again. I’ve never done it but it sounds fairly easy. I’ve hand pollinated zucchini before (with my C. pepo pumpkins) just because in the spring the bees aren’t doing their job and it gets me earlier zucchini. I’m a little worried about getting seed. I have serious problems with vine borers in my garden. Moschatas are supposed to be immune, but I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m still debating over letting my zucchini set seed early or late. If I do it early, I’m guaranteed seed, but it will slow down my harvest. If I wait until later, the borers may kill the plant before the seed is ripe. If anyone with the same issue in the garden has advice, I’d love it.

    In addition I may decide to save some chili pepper seeds. I’m growing three kinds right next to one another so will have to isolate them with some row cover. I’m also trying to overwinter my chard and bunching onion for some seed, but won’t know if I’m successful until spring. I’ll be saving other seed too, but I’ve done it before, so it doesn’t count for the challenge.

  • Daphne, I’m going to grow one squash plant that is primarily for seed. That way I won’t have to worry about it slowing my harvest down as much. I’m not too worried about ending up with extra squash. I want plenty so that I have enough to dry some for winter.

  • Thanks for your awesome comments, y’all – loving it!

    monica, Darn – I wish I could – sigh. Someday when we live in a house… Thanks for posting the info.

    Margaret, I think you may be the only one thus far. There were others from the UK The Growing Challenge… Emma from Fluffius Muppetus is in Oxfordshire, Top Veg – he had a major website issue but he’s a great resource when it comes back, Pete from Allotment 5 1/2 is in North Devon, Earth And Tree is in London, Can I Eat It? is in Sussex… Those are the ones I know… We’ll keep our eye out!

    Mary, Thank you for your great answer to Abbie’s question! Um, much better than mine. : )

    Maureen, I feel you on the heat – our Geyserville garden was technically in zone 8, but it was 110 degrees for days upon days. Green Bean and Di are there with you. As are some of the Australians.

    Sara, you do seem to be the coldest so far, but I’ll bet more northerners will join us as spring nears!

    Judy, Jennie has a good response, and Daphne provides some info as well – at some point I’ll be doing a post on broccoli for you and Rob. : ) I’ve grown it from seed, but haven’t yet harvested them so I’ll be researching, too!

    TomB, Such an interesting dimension you bring to us! Thank you!

    Deb G, The only labels I’ve found to work are the aluminum ones that you engrave with a pen. I keep them from year to year, just change the planting date on the back each time. And congrats on your spinach! Awesome!

    greeen sheeep, : ( I’m sorry. Soon, soon. I am ready for spring, too. As for tomatoes, see Jennie’s great response below. I’ll be saving tomato seed this year, so I’ll share my research, too.

    Jennie, THANK YOU!! Great info!

    Daphne, Thanks for the information. I’m a fan of dill as well. And moschatas are immune to vine borers? Great to know!!

  • Well all the info says they are resistant to vine borers (not immune). I haven’t grown them before, but my daughter wants pumpkin pie from the garden. We have tried with real pumpkins year after year but haven’t been very successful. Once we succeeded in getting a couple of pumpkins. Last year was a dismal failure. So I’m trying neck pumpkins which are supposed to be good for pie, but are really more closely related to butternuts. Butternuts are also moschatas.

  • Thanks for all the information. I wasn’t planning to try to save the seeds from my broccoli. I’m going to be saving seeds from some of the easier ones. Growing broccoli at all is a new experience for me- although I grow LOTS of other things. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  • ok, late to committ but im in for this round too. i need the pressure!LOL . kel

  • Hmmm, I thought I had commented before that I was joining in… maybe not. Please add me to the list. Melissa, Zone 6, Kansas

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