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The Garden Journal

Dec 26, 2020

Today's Topic: All About Seeds. See program notes, below.

Jannine Cabossel, the Tomato Lady, joins host Christine Salem to look at what we can be doing next month in our vegetable gardens. Jannine blogs at

This episode of The Garden Journal is presented by Home Grown New Mexico in partnership with Santa Fe Extension Master Gardeners. Have a gardening question? Online Ask a Master Gardener can help!

Program Notes

  1. Why Save Seeds

--Scarcity—global warming or weather event or increased demand (covid)

--increase genetic diversity (seed companies)

--hyper local adaptation/landrace

  1. How to Save Seeds -- easiest to save—selfers like tomatoes, beans, peppers, lettuce; talk about OP vs hybrids; talk about isolation for seeds that are wind and insect pollinated. See chart on How to save seeds from tomatoes and cucumbers—ferment. Tomatoes that are more likely to be wind pollinated.
  1. How to Store Seeds—cool, dark, dry
  1. How to Start Seeds—end of Feb show for March will address this but talk about ideal timing
  1. Seed Viability. Seed viability charts on line; USDA does germ tests on commercial seed companies’ seed stock. 75-55% must germinate to be approved for sale. Those seeds are then “packed for xxx year” and sold. Most have seed viability charts on their website for how long to expect the seeds to germinate reliably. As they age the viability goes down. But the charts are typically quite conservative. If the seeds were stored correctly, those seeds may be viable far longer than indicated. If in doubt, do a germination test to calculate germination rate: plant 10 or use wet paper towel in plastic bag. Pumpkin seeds 300 years old and date palm seed found in urn at the bottom of dead sea with the Nag Hamadi scriptures two thousand years ago both germinated and produced fruit. Never give up on a seed.
  1. Small, localized Seed Companies—let’s support them. They use growers in their own regions, they offer unique, landrace varieties, etc., and
  • Stanley Crawford in Dixon for garlic—buy at SF Farmers Market
  • Hobbs & Meyer in Pueblo, CO
  • Miss Penn’s Mountain Seeds, Penn Parmenter in Westcliff, Colorado
  • Native Seed Search in Tucson
  • Snake River Seed Coop in Idaho—Casey OLeary
  • High Desert Seed + Gardens* ,Montrose, CO
  • Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa
  • Siskyou Seeds in SW Oregon (Don Tipping)
  • Botanical Interest—Colorado. Sold at Retail (not sure where their seeds are grown)