For me, seed harvesting is one of the greatest joys of gardening. It’s my little way of sticking it to corporations like Monsanto and helping to foil the diabolical plan for a so-called “suicide seed” that would not only not be able to germinate but that could potentially infect farmers’ crops everywhere and thus replace all normal seeds.
Why would anyone want to create such a thing, you ask? Well, because when a farmer can’t harvest seeds from his plants, he is forced to buy seeds for replanting every year. This hurts the farmer and makes corporations like Monsanto very rich.
To fight back, some nations, like India, have banned genetically modified seeds from being sold. Hopefully, The United States will do the same thing very soon, but there is one way to avoid the global domination of world agriculture by corporations until then.
When you want to start a garden, buy heirloom seeds, and at the end of the season, harvest your plant seeds and use those seeds for your next year’s garden. Never buy a genetically modified plant or a hybrid. If you do, the seeds (if it has any) will most likely never germinate, and if they do grow, there is only a slight chance they will be anything like the parent plant. However, this may be mercy considering that the parent plants often have genes from frogs and other creatures injected into them.
So how do you avoid planting one of these Frankenstein creations? Well, Monsanto often sells its seeds under different names, so you have to be very careful when shopping to avoid them. Burpee, Germania Seed Company, Rocky Mountain Seed Co., and Park seed are just some seed companies that sell Monsanto seeds. It’s probably wise to assume that unless otherwise specified, the seed probably came from Monsanto.
Seek out heirloom seeds on the internet, avoid big garden chain stores or nurseries, and stick to little mom-and-pop stores.
Once you have grown your garden and begin harvesting the vegetables, you can also dry out and save the seeds. The process is pretty straightforward. The key is to gather the seeds at just the right time.
Too soon, and the seeds won’t be mature enough to germinate. Too late, and they may be damaged. The time it takes to mature is different for each plant species.
Tomato seeds are ready to be harvested when the tomato is soft and ripe. Prepare pepper seeds after the pepper has changed color and begun to wilt slightly. Eggplant should be allowed to ripen and fall off the vine before the seeds are collected. Corn seed is ripe for harvesting when the silk has turned brown (before it dries out). The kernels will then be dried and frozen for next year’s crop.
Most seeds need to be washed and allowed to dry out completely before being stored away. It is essential to wash them because germs and fungus on the seed can kill baby plants. After washing, let them dry thoroughly and store them in a clean plastic bag till planting time. In some cases, like with corn, the seed has to be kept in the fridge during the winter to germinate, but most ordinary vegetable seeds do not.