There are several things to consider when planning a seed garden:
- Know what kind of seed you have. Generally it is recommended that gardeners who want to save seed use open pollinated seed. Open pollinated seed will come true to the variety whereas seed saved from a hybrid will most likely not resemble the original plant(s).
- Be familiar with your plant’s scientific name, especially the genus and species. This will help you know who your plant is related to and whether it will cross with something else in your garden. The result of some crosses are desirable, but some are undesirable. Plants with the same genus and species will cross!
- Consider how your plants get pollinated -in other words, how the pollen moves in order to fertilize the plant’s ovaries. If it is self pollinated, the pollen tends to stay on the same plant. If it is cross pollinated, it means the pollen moves from one plant to another with the help of insects or wind.
- Plants that are being saved for seed tend to grow larger and stay in the garden longer than plants we harvest for eating. Make sure to allow enough space for your plants so they can fully develop.
- Have conversations with your neighbors about what they are growing so you can avoid unwanted crosses.
- Watch your plants as they grow and select seed from as many healthy plants as possible.
Information adapted from Seed Savers Exchange, 2010.