Saving seeds and passing them on to others is a time honored tradition among die hard vegetable gardeners. Nothing compares to the satisfaction of saving seeds from your favorite plant for next year and sharing it. Here are some advantages and potential disadvantages of saving seed.
Advantages of saving seed:
- You can save seed from your favorite varieties. Those golden jubilee tomato seeds may be plentiful in stores and catalogs now, but shortages may occur in the future.
- Plants from seed saved year after year in the same climate become more adapted to the local environment. Many seeds are produced in other areas of the world. Saving your own seed will “localize” your plant genetics.
- Get an earlier start. With saved seeds, you don’t have to wait for them to be available at the local garden center, catalogs, or online.
- Saving seed can also result in saving money. Since you will be purchasing less seed, your garden will be more cost effective.
Potential disadvantages of saving seed:
- Possible unintentional pollination between varieties. This leads to progeny not being genetically true to the parent plant.
- Seed from hybrids should not be saved because hybrids are a cross between two different varieties and the resulting offspring have the best qualities of both parents. Seeds from hybrids often result in inferior plants.
- Saving seed takes a lot of time, especially when collecting small seeds such as lettuce.
- Depending on which seed is being saved, it is possibly illegal. Some seed companies hold patents on plant genetics and those genetics are therefore the intellectual property of the company. It is illegal to use this intellectual property without the permission of the seed company.
I hope you will try saving your favorite garden seed this year. Good luck and good gardening!
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