In fact, your seed saving efforts should begin with that catalog you’ve been perusing all winter.In addition to a myriad of valuable information such as germination times, growth characteristics, suggested planting dates and so on, many seed catalogs now list each vegetable’s Latin botanical name, as well.That’s because botanical names describe which plants have close family (and genetic) relationships and which ones don’t.Taking the time to learn how garden plants are related is probably the most important thing you will ever do as a seed saver.I highly recommend writing the botanical name on the front of every pack of seeds you buy (or save).In fact, large pollinators like bumblebees can physically force their way into closed flowers, while insects like bean beetles, which feed on pollen, chew their way in.To help illustrate this point, here are just a few members of the very large legume family, see if you can determine which of these have the ability to cross pollinate.This indicates that all common beans share an incredible amount of genetic similarities and are prone to cross pollination.All you need to do to prevent cross pollination is to provide a little extra space between varieties of legumes that share the same species names.And if you are growing a very rare or special family heirloom, you’ll need to increase that distance to approximately 100 feet, just to be on the safe side.Inbreeding depression causes all kinds of problems that become increasingly evident as each generation of seeds is grown out.Signs of inbreeding depression include low germination rates, loss of disease or pest resistance, overall plant vigor, and other distinguishing characteristic of that particular variety.While not strictly necessary with legumes, it is always good seedsmanship to save seeds from at least three or four different plants to help retain the natural genetic diversity that exists within each variety.By planning now to save seed later, you can grow more varieties with the assurance that each and every one will retain their own unique characteristics for generations to come.© 2014 Jill Henderson Feel free to share with a link back to the original article.Her books, The Healing Power of Kitchen Herbs, The Garden Seed Saving Guide and A Journey of Seasons can be found in the Show Me Oz Bookstore. .
Which Garden Vegetables and Fruits Need Insect Pollination
Case 1: Insects Needed to cross pollinate for production of edible portion of plant.Strawberry Gooseberry Sunflower Huckleberry Apple Cucumber (except selfing & seedless types) Sweet and sour cherries Summer squash Plum Winter squashes, including pumpkin Peach Cantaloupe Pear Watermelon Raspberry Faba (broad) bean Currant.For good fruit set, some garden plants strongly benefit from (or even require) bee visitation even though the flowers are self-fertile.Pollen in these plants is held in hollow anthers with pores at the tip, like little salt shakers.And some of these biennials will not overwinter in the ground in Montana, and so will need to be moved indoors during the cold months and re-planted in the spring.Celery Carrot Mustard greens Parsnip Cauliflower Chives Kale Radish Bok choy and other cabbages Beet-root, beet greens, chard Brussels sprouts Potato (via buzz pollination of self-fertile flowers) Turnip Onion Rutabaga Garlic Lettuces.NOTE: Raising garlic for true sexually-reproduced seed (i.e., not just the divided bulbs or the bulbils) is an art. .
So next year I will be planting from older stock, use one variety only, and rogue any that show bad behaviour such as climbing when they are not supposed to, to try to keep the resulting beans pure.If keeping the race clean is a high priority and you have many insects then plant your beans in alternate years. .
Isolation Methods for Seed Saving
In seed saving, it’s essential to prevent cross-pollination of crops that are not self-pollinating by keeping plants of the same species separated by distance.This method can be more challenging for home growers, because generally, pollinators are purchased and introduced inside the cages. .