Class #4 entitled Saving Your Seeds (which includes a Potluck Crop Swap) will happen at the Native Revival Nursery in Ap-tos on Saturday, August 20, 2016. Open to all. There are two options for class times: 11:00am-12:00pm or 1:30pm-2:30pm. Cost: $15 per person if purchased in advance or $20 on day of event. Registration at [email protected].

Today I harvested lettuce and cilantro seeds from my home garden for the upcoming seed swap and pot luck August 20th and the Santa Cruz County Fair in September.  This year’s seed harvest will be cilantro, and lettuce as seen being held by me.  In the background are habanero peppers and tomatoes that are fruiting for seed gathering in Fall.

The two categories of seed cleaning are dry- fruit and fleshy-fruit.  Our collection started month with a favorite, the tomato. We studied saving seeds from fleshy-fruit. This month we will review dry-fruit seeding. My favorite being kale and lettuces and herbs are in this category.

Seven classes of dry fruit are produced by common vegetable and grains.  The seeding is often similar for these related crops. The pods then become either Indehiscent or Dehiscent. This Dehiscent fruit splits and releases the seed. Indehiscent do not split open but remain inside the fruit.

   Example of Indehiscent are:  achene (lettuce), utricle (spinach) , schizocarp (cilantro), caryopsis (corn)

  Examples of dehiscent are: capsule (onion), legume (peas), silique (kale).

Our goals of seed saving should be to minimize the loss of seeds, to avoid contamination with unwanted debris, to harvest fruit in as dry of a state as possible and to maximize the maturity of the seeds at harvest.

So what do we need to get started? For the process our tools will be containers and drop cloths, pruners and knives to cut plant and branches. Also, protection from animal that would love to dine on the fresh seeds.

Label the seed as you harvest, for I have misidentified similar looking peas with the (I’ll remember) .

Cleaning the chaff (debris) is necessary due to disease-causing microorganisms. Using the methods that I’ll be showing at our class in August will include Threshing, Screening and Winnowing.

Class will include storage, longevity,  temperature,  period of storage, long term or short term.

Seed storage essentially begins once seeds have reached physiological maturity and begin to dry. Loss of seed quality can occur during weathering. harvesting or storage. Our next article will review seed quality and storage.

Where to Purchase Seeds from nearly 200 variety of heirloom seeds.

Native Revival Nursey     Mar Vista Dr. Aptos. [email protected]

Allen Morgan     Santa Cruz Heirloom Seed @hotmail.com

Seed Savers Exchange: www.Seedsaver.org/

Allen Morgan
You can purchase seed from distributor Allen Morgan at [email protected] or if you have any questions he can be reached by phone at (831) 325-8115. Visit us on Facebook at Santa Cruz Heirloom Seed.