SG590: How to Save Seed with Cheryl Moore-Gough


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Seed Saver Extraordinaire and co-author of The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds: 322 Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, Flowers, Trees, and Shrubs, Cheryl Moore-Gough is on the show today. Cheryl is going to help us learn how to save our seeds to use in next year’s garden, to share with our fellow gardeners, or to donate to the community through our local seed libraries.

Experienced gardeners know that saving seed is one more excellent skill to have in your garden tote (so to speak), and it also can make gardening even more budget-wise. Saving seed means you can play breeder as well - picking your very best plants for seed harvesting - and slowly improving your resident plants by selecting seed based on taste, productivity and hardiness.

I started saving seed with two beautiful ornamental annuals in my garden. The first was Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena), the other was spider flower or cleome. Once you figure out how to save seed from your favorite plants, you won’t believe the impact on your garden (and your budget!) Like many other aspects of gardening, when the skill of saving seeds becomes part of your repertoire, you’ll find it is easily integrated into your regular activities in your garden every year: collect, grow, and repeat.

With the summer of 2017 fading into memory, my final visits to the garden include gathering ripe seed - lettuce, cosmos, coriander, and nasturtiums. For me, the key is to have a few ziploc bags to keep my collections straight - along with a pen to label the bags! (Don’t forget to tuck a pen in your apron!)

If you’re ready to start saving seed, there a number of excellent resources are available today. One of the most popular, and favorite references remains the book Cheryl Moore-Gough wrote with her husband, Robert, back in 2011 simply called, The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds: 322 Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, Flowers, Trees, and Shrubs. Preserve your favorite tastes and scents, customize your garden plants, and promote diversity with the important skill of seed saving. Let’s learn from today’s expert guest: Cheryl Moore-Gough. Websites:

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Link to this week's quotables

Helpful Timestamps

The Garden News Roundup

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I’d love for us to start off by first having you read the quote at the front of your book from George Washington.

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Seed saving was such a huge part of farm life, but it’s now lost to so many people as we become more urbanized.

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What do you wish most gardeners had a better understanding of when it comes to seed production in plants?

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What are some of the best ways a beginner can save seeds?

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Chapter 4 of your book covers seed storage know-how. First, how long do seeds really last? Can they really last for thousands of years?

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What are the best containers to hold seeds in?

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Is there a way you can tell what the seed would turn into when it’s been planted? Are there any predictive markers on the seed?

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Do you collect seeds the same way in every plant or does it differ based on the plant?

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How can we save seeds from hybrids?

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Do you have some common pieces of advice that you regularly share to gardeners about germination?

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Do you have some tips and tricks for gardeners who are struggling with plant problems?

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Do you do anything to enhance airflow when trying to grow indoors?

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Now, you have a section for advance gardeners. What advice do you have for those more experienced gardeners who want to take plant breeding seriously?

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Do you have any favorite resources for gardeners you would like to share?

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Before we go, do you have any final words of encourage to all the gardeners out there?

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