Cross Pollination

I’d written in passing that saving seeds is not quite as simple as it seems. Remember that sex involves the birds and the bees. You have to know what cross-pollinates with what and how to isolate plants.

We haven’t focused much on saving vegetable seeds and have been buying new seeds each year.  It’s been on our to-do list but not that pressing because there was always next year.

Now, next year has become this year. This year it becomes imperative that we save seed because, in two cases, we may not be able to get more seed. Altrei Coffee is a lupin and we have wild lupins growing in the garden.  We don’t know if they cross or not but we can’t take the chance.  And we obtained the Laura soybeans by accident because the company’s order page didn’t reject orders from Canada. That’s since been changed.

And we’re help Dan Jason of Seed and Plant Sanctuary for Canada grow out some varieties that he would like to multiply because he considers them to be outstanding.  One of the varieties that we will be growing for him is Exhibition Longpod Fava. Since we were already growing Andy’s Broad Bean, we now have to isolate the Exhibition Longpod for him and Andy’s Broad for us if we want it to come true next year.

So it looks like we’ll be hand pollinating our squash and taping the flowers shut,  building isolation cages for our carrots (they cross with each other and with Queen Anne’s Lace aka wild carrot), fava beans, and altrei coffee.  Tomatoes are generally self-fertile but they will sometimes cross.  Since we will be keeping bees this year, the chances of crossing will probably increase.  There are some tomatoes such as our longkeeper varieties that we do not want to cross. So we will be physically separating these tomatoes.

Two excellent books on vegetable seed saving are by Suzanne Ashworth and Kent Whealy (formerly of Seed Savers Exchange)

and Seeds of Diversity’s


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