Gardening Articles: Care :: Seeds & Propagation

Seed Saving and Starting

by Susan Littlefield


Are you interested in developing a tomato that is bred to thrive in the particular conditions found in your own home garden by selecting and saving seeds each year? Maybe you'd like to save seeds as a way to stretch your gardening budget. Perhaps you'd just like to delve a little deeper into growing a wide array of plants from seed. Whatever your area of interest, you're likely to find some helpful information in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Seed Saving & Starting by Sheri Ann Richardson (Alpha Books, 2012, $18.95).

Richardson starts by explaining the differences between open-pollinated and hybrid seeds and how that relates to seed saving, and clarifies terms such as heirloom seeds and GMOs. She then goes on to cover the ins and outs of seed saving; how to identify when seeds are mature, how to harvest them, prepare them for storage, and store them to maintain their viability.

Of course, the whole point to saving seeds is to grow them later! You'll find information on germinating and testing your seeds, special techniques some seeds need in order to sprout, and advice on sowing seeds both indoors and directly in the garden. If you are interested in creating new varieties through your own breeding program, Richardson tells you how to do this. There is also a helpful seed directory with specific seed harvesting, germinating, and sowing information for a wide range of flowers, fruits, vegetables, herbs, even grains.

For more about this book, go to: The Complete Idiot's Guide.

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