This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to all who entered!
I've mentioned numerous times that one of my primary goals for the 2013 garden is to save more seed from year to year. I've already had some great successes with beans, peppers, and edamame, and this year I'm planning on expanding my efforts to include radishes, tomatoes, melon, cucumber, and pumpkins--at least to start! If you're interested in seed saving, you'll definitely want to stick around this summer to catch all of the seed saving tips, tricks, and information that I will be sharing with you.
Navigating the how-to of seed saving can be a little overwhelming for the home gardener when you start talking about half-mile isolation distances and throwing out terms you vaguely remember from your prep classes for the AP Biology Exam 16 years ago, but with the right guide to point out a few simple rules, seed saving is entirely accessible and easy to do, even for the beginner gardener. Which is exactly what brings us to this Good Garden Read:
I purchased a copy of The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds earlier this spring when I was working on my garden plans for the year. I was instantly impressed with how much good stuff is included in this resource. It is by far the most comprehensive collection of information on seed saving that I have found to date. I found myself simultaneously geeking out over the refresher course in plant biology (yes, I was that student that actually really enjoyed preparing for the AP Biology Exam) and absolutely loving the adventurous attitude with which the authors approach saving seed (Not sure you did it right? No biggie, it will be fun to see what you get either way!), so whether you're looking for a source of solid scientific information, or encouragement to give it a try despite the fact that your various squash plants aren't isolated at all, this book has something for you.
The book is divided into two sections. Part I covers the basics of seed saving and provides a lot of general information:
- Detailed botanical information on various types of flowers, pollination, and seed formation, including an extensive glossary of terms
- Tips on how to identify the best plants for seed saving to ensure healthy seeds and plants with desirable characteristics
- Easy to follow illustrations for hand pollination techniques and other tools for saving seed
- Comprehensive instructions on how to collect, clean, and store seeds saved from your garden
- A guide to preparing saved seeds for planting, as well as information on seed starting and transplanting seedlings into the garden
But the majority of the book is dedicated to Part II, which provides specific information on how to save seed from over 300 types of vegetables, herbs, flowers, fruits, nuts, and trees. I find myself constantly referring back to these entries to find information specific to what I'm growing. Each entry provides the following information:
- Basic botanical information, including the botanical name, plant family, and if the plant will produce seed in the first (annual) or second (biennial) year
- Detailed instructions for spacing plants for seed saving and isolation requirements (and how to work around those requirements if you don't have enough space to do so)
- Thorough descriptions of the plant's flowers and how it is pollinated
- Instructions for overwintering biennials for seed production in the second year
- Detailed directions for seed collection, cleaning, treatment, and storage (including information on how long the seed will remain viable)
- Information on germination requirements and time, and plant-specific methods for planting and transplanting.
What I enjoy most about this book is that it makes seed saving completely accessible, no matter what experience or knowledge you bring to the table. The information is presented in a way that beginners and experienced seed savers alike will find it to be a valuable garden resource (I know I will most certainly continue to wear out my copy as the season goes on!). Even if you hadn't given any thought to saving seeds from your garden until this very moment, this book will guide you right through the process. I am really looking forward to trying out some of these methods and sharing the results with you in the months to come!
But wait, there's more! Storey Publishing has offered a copy of this book to give away to a lucky reader!
To enter the giveaway, simply comment on this post and include what seeds you would most like to save from this year's garden (one entry per person).
For a bonus entry, click over and "like" Sweet Domesticity on Facebook, and then leave an additional comment on this post (must be separate from your first comment) letting me know that you've done so (Already liked the page? What are you waiting for - leave a second comment!).
The giveaway will run through Sunday, June 30, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. and is open to U.S. residents only, at the request of the publisher. One winner will be selected at random and announced on the blog on Monday, July 1. I'll contact the winner at that time to obtain the necessary information and Storey Publishing will ship the book directly to the winner of the giveaway.
I have not received any compensation or goods in exchange for this post; I initiated this giveaway because I feel this is an excellent garden resource. All opinions are my own.
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Labels: giveaways, Good Garden Reads, resources, seed saving