Vegetable Seed Conservation for the Home Gardens

Vegetable Seed Conservation for the Home Gardens

You can save the vegetable seed from your existing crop for the next season of sowing. Saving involves—

  • The best suitable plant from which seeds have to save 
  •  Harvesting the seed  right time
  •  Storing the seed properly 
Few points must be considered before planning the vegetable seed production for their own conjumption Whether the crop is self-pollinated, Open-pollinated, cross-pollinated, or a hybrid    
1) Self- Pollinated Vegetable Plants-
 Some of the Self-pollinating vegetable examples are; tomatoes, green peppers, and chili peppers, eggplants, green beans, lima beans, sweet peas, and peanuts. In these crops, pollen is required for a flower to produce fruit. Self-pollinated plants possess the”perfect” flowers that mean both the pollen and stigma are present in the same flower. 
Self-pollinated seeds require little or no special treatment before storage.

Seeds from biennial crops such as carrots or beets are harder to save since the plants need two growing seasons to set seed.

2) Cross – Pollinated Vegetable Plants ;
Some of the Cross-pollinating vegetable examples are cucumbers, melons, squash, pumpkins, and gourds. 
Cross-pollinated plants possess separate male and female flowers and may cross-pollinate through wind or insects. 
It is very difficult to maintain the seed purity of these crops. 
3) Open-pollinated Vegetable Plants ;   

Open-pollinated varieties are those, if properly isolated from other varieties in the same plant species, will produce seed that is genetically “true to type.” This means that the seed will result in a plant very similar to the parent. … Seed from a hybrid variety can be saved, but will not be true to type.

4) Hybrid Vegetable Plants;
Hybrid vegetable seeds are products of crosses between two diverse parents ( combining traits of the parent plants.) Sometimes a combination is particularly good, producing plants with outstanding vigor, disease resistance, and productivity. Hybrid seeds are generally more costly as their production cost are much higher in comperision to others
  • Plants grown from a hybrid seed are not identical to the parent’s qulitative and quantitative characterstics.
  • They will be a completely new combination of the good and bad characteristics of the plants from the initial cross.
  • It is quite impossible to predict just how the seedling plant will perform or what qualities the fruit will have.

Vegetable seed Conservation

Seeds are the protectors and propagators of their kind. The seed may be defined as “as fertilized ovule consisting of an intact embryo, stored food, and seed coat which is viable and has got the capacity to germinate” 
Once you have planted an open-pollinated crop, Select the plants from which you want to save seed.
Choose only the most vigorous plants with the best-tasting fruit as parents for the next year’s crop. Do not save seed from weak or off-type plants.
Characteristics of a good seed
(i) The seed should be true to type. 

(ii) The seed should have good yield potential.
(iii) The seed should possess high vitality.
(IV) The seed should be pure, healthy, and free from inert materials and weed seeds.
(V) The seed should be free from seed-borne diseases and insect pest. 
(vi) The seed should have high yielding ability and adaptability. (vii) The seed should be uniform in its texture, structure, and color. 
(viii) The seed should be as fresh as possible or of proper age.
Seed Conservation in Vegetable Crops
1. Fruit Vegetable
Brinjal. The fruits are allowed to ripen on the plants. The fully ripe fruits are harvested and kept for some days in cool places. Then the seeds are! separated from the pulp and they should be dipped into the water. The healthy seed should then be dried in partial shade before storing.
Tomato. The recommended varieties from which seeds are to be! extracted are grown at an isolation distance of 25 to 60 meters depending upon the type of seed to be produced. Fully ripe fruits are harvested from the selected varieties. The seed along with the pulp is left in a wooden container to ferment for two to three days before extraction. The seed is then extracted by vigorous stirring and washing. The acid and alkali method is now used to avoid of handling the fermented material.
The acid method is more common. 100 ml of commercial hydrochloric acid is thoroughly mixed and stirred for every 11 kg of pulp and left for about 30 minutes. The pulp is then again stirred and the seed is washed.
Chilli. Chilies are cross-pollinated to some extent. It is essential to kept an isolation distance of 200 meters between two varieties. The fully ripe fruits are harvested and dried in sun for four to five days. The dried fruits are stored in an airtight container. The fruits are removed from them, broken and then the seeds are extracted before sowing. 

2. Root Crops
Radish. Radish is a cross-pollinated crop and pollination is done by honey bee. The seed is produced in situ method or transplanting method. The best roots that are true to the type are selected from the main crop in November and transplanted after cutting away about three-fourth of lower portion. The top leaves are then trimmed without injuring the crown. These are planted in fertile soil in December at 90 cm row to row and 15-20 cm plant to plant. The field is then irrigated after planting and subsequent irrigations are given at a interval of 7 to 10 days, till the seeds are formed in the fruits. The seeds are ready in April. The crop is harvested before the pod gets dried completely and the plants are dried in open. When they are completely dried, seeds are then separated from them, seived, graded, and stored for next sowing in the next session Though plants in situ yields less than the transplanted ones, yet they flower early in the former case than in the later.
Turnip. The seed is sown from August to September for seed production The fully developed roots are uprooted and retransplanted after removing the tops in autumn at distance of 60 x 60 cm. The land is irrigated at a regular interval. The plants are harvested when 60 to 70 percent of their turns yellowish-brown in color. The plants are dried in sum and the seeds are then separated from them. The seeds are stored in a airtight container after drying it for four to five days in sun.
The seed production of carrot and beet is the same as that for radish 
3. Bulb Crops
The onion is mainly a cross-pollinated crop. The seed is produced by bulb to seed method and seed to seed method. A medium-sized bulb is selected for planting for seed production. The bulbs are planted by the first fortnight of October at a spacing of 45 x 30 cm. In case of seed to seed method, Seeds are sown in August in the nursery bed and the seedlings are transplanted in September in the main field. The seed head, in which seeds are just ready to shatter, are harvested and dried in sun and then threshed by hand, sieved graded, and stored for next sowing in the next session
4. Legume Vegetables
Legumes are self-pollinated crop seeds. Once collected from pure varieties will breed true to type. For stock seed production, roughing is a compulsory operation. The fully ripe and dried fruits are harvested and dried in sun for four to five days. Then the seeds are separated from the fruits and dried in sun and stored in an airtight container. 
5. Cucurbits
The cucurbits are a cross-pollinated crop. The fully ripe fruits are harvested and kept for some days. The seeds are collected from the fruits and dried in sun. Then the seeds are stored in airtight container.
6. Green Vegetables
Green vegetables produce seeds freely. The plants are allowed to grow freely for seed production. The plants are harvested when the fruits are fully ripening and dried in sun. Then the seeds are collected by threshing the plant by hand. The seeds are stored in an airtight container after drying it in sun for four to live days.

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