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Seed Saving Circle 2022

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JanG:
Itís time to think of seed saving for 2022!
I hope growing is well under way and going well in spite of some cold and some very dry weather in many places. So time to think ahead as seed saving is such an important part of the yearís cycle. Last yearís seed circle included many exciting varieties generously given, and I imagine many of these are already being grown and enjoyed in membersí gardens and allotments. So hopefully the 2022 Seed Circle will also surprise and delight! This will be its 12th year and in that time an amazing number of seeds have been exchanged - some very lovely, many very interesting, some unusual and some just downright useful. So please do say if youíd like to be involved, whether or not you have before, and then begin to think what you might be able to set aside for seed-saving. It would be good to have some new members but I hope previous participants will also join in again

For those who havenít joined before hereís some information to help you decide if you would like to join.


The Seed Circle is open to all A4A members; itís great to have new people join too. The group is all about setting aside a little growing space, ,and time to raise some crops for seeds, keeping the group informed as to how the season is going, then at the end of the season sharing some growing information and the all-important saved seeds with the group.

Each person decides what 2 or more crops they will grow and save seed from (we do inc. tubers, bulbs and cuttings, but just make sure they are well wrapped so they don't dampen any seeds), saving enough seed for every other member to grow a crop the following year. The group could be up to 20 people but is more often under 10. Veggies will generally need to be heritage or open pollinated so that they will come true from seed (potato seeds wonít come exactly true). If you include grown out hybrids please state this clearly.

I think most of us have found out that some vegetables are easier than others to save seed from, and everything can change with the weather. But generally peas, French beans, tomatoes, perhaps potatoes and some herbs are the easiest. Chillies, Sweet peppers, squash, courgette and lettuce will need isolating from other varieties to keep seed pure.  Parsnips, onions, leeks, beetroot, carrots, celeriac and many brassicas only go to seed the second year and need isolation from other varieties and so are more time consuming and a little trickier.

Real Seeds gave the idea for the circles. Their site gives some great seed saving tips as well as being a great seed catalogue http://www.realseeds.co.uk/seedsavinginfo.html. There is also a brilliant series of shortish videos on seed saving for different veggies at: https://www.diyseeds.org/en/

For anyone interested, what we finally shared in 2020 and 2021 can be found at https://airtable.com/shryC20nRNmUcgT30. Try Gallery View.
For anyone interested, what we finally shared from 2017 onwards can be found at https://seedsaverscircle.home.blog/
For anyone interested in previous yearsí Seed Parcels and what we finally shared in 2016 and previously, they can be found at http://seedsaverscircle.org/seed-circle/

And some previous threads for the Circles;
Seed Circle 2021 https://www.allotments4all.co.uk/smf/index.php/topic,83047.0.html
Seed Circle 2020 https://www.allotments4all.co.uk/smf/index.php/topic,82679.0.html
Seed Circle 2019 https://www.allotments4all.co.uk/smf/index.php/topic,82221.0.html
Seed Circle 2018 https://www.allotments4all.co.uk/smf/index.php/topic,81651.0.html
Seed Circle 2017 https://www.allotments4all.co.uk/smf/index.php/topic,81010.0.html


Please could a Moderator pin this? 

Vetivert:
Thank you, JanG. :icon_cheers:

It'd be lovely to have some new participants. Contributions are by no means limited to the rare or exotic. Varieties that are widely commercially available are equally worthwhile. Seed companies are letting many open-pollinated stocks degrade so it is well worth saving and selecting your own seeds of varieties that otherwise appear 'safe'. OP Purple-sprouting broccoli, Boltardy beets, Greyhound cabbage, and Gardeners' Delight tomatoes are some of the most notable examples of widespread, once reliable varieties that have been poorly maintained.

Count me in again for 2022, please. :happy7:
All being well, besides the usual annuals I'll have some biennials to share this year - beetroot, swede, radicchio, and spinach.

JanG:
Thatís good news, Vetivert, and a very timely reminder that all seeds are worth saving, not just the less usual.
It would be interesting to know how youíre going about seed-saving of the biennials you mention. I have saved spinach and radicchio by sowing late in the year, cropping through the winter - possibly protected by fleece or mesh - and letting them go to seed in spring or early summer of the next year. Beetroot and swede take a bit more care I think, especially as here they get munched by rodents over winter if left in the ground. Do you lift them, store over winter and select a few? How many would you replant in spring to get good seed?

galina:
As they have delayed checks from EU into Britain yet again, it looks like participation is possible which I would love to do.  The problem is how to get the return seeds, but it was encouraging to read that Ruud's seeds made it despite the post Brexit rules. 

Very good points both, Jang and Vetivert.  By the way, Senposai is romping away, will be planted out in the next few days.  The Cress is growing very well too, and transplanted easily to the outside world a couple of weeks ago.  We 'stole' the first couple of real lettuce leaves this year to supplement the landcress and lamb's lettuce for our lunches.   

Tomatoes and peas from the circle are looking bonny, although I had to leave a couple of the tomatoes for next year.  There are flowers coming on Jen's Tangerine.  Giant Bolivian achocha has fruits!  I decided to trick the plant into flowering at the spring equinox rather than sowing in May.  Normally they flower around the autumn equinox and produce fruit shortly after.  However, as I have now twice lost plants from my seeds (from Jayb originally) that just did not make it in autumn here and were cut short by early sharp frosts a rethink was in order.  This year I used the seed circle seeds and sowed in January for a house plant, which did indeed start flowering at the spring equinox.  I will plant them out into the garden in a couple of weeks and hope the flowering will continue.

I have started putting beans into little pots too to be ready for that magic date of 15th May that is supposed to be the last frosty night here. 

One of the joys with home grown seeds is that they are fresh and keep longer than commercial packets that have been germination tested at the time of packing, but could otherwise be a few years old already. 

Would love to take part again. 

JanG:
Thatís brilliant news, Galina. And so far so good on sending seeds from UK into Europe. If it happens that youíre visiting England around the right time, of course I will happily send to a convenient address. We can arrange that as we go. But hopefully either way will work. Very good to have you join.

A good reminder to sow the Senposai seeds. Have you grown it at different times of the year, Vetivert? Iím wondering what the best timing is to delay it going to seed.

Tomatoes and peppers are well underway here too. Your Sipka Belaja, Galina, romped away very early and has been eager to produce flowers and fruit for a while now. Iíve discouraged it in order to encourage the plant to keep growing more, but will let it have its head now, I think. Ruudís Phrik Key Nuu has produced a strikingly variegated small plant. Iím hoping thatís a characteristic of the variety. Has anyone else found the same?

Some peas are coming into flower. Iím struck by how early Kentish Invicta is. It has outstripped other early peas both in speed of growth and in coming into flower. Iím looking forward to tasting its first peas!

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