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It’s always hard to give up a chunk of time to go do something during the summer when there is so much to be done at home. This past weekend was my second Seed Saving Class and I have to say it was well worth the time!

The gardens were so beautiful and it was amazing to see the difference in just a month.

Vermont, seed saving

Sylvia’s Gardens

So much was covered in the two hours I actually took six pages of notes! Sylvia has her various plants that she is collecting seed from well spaced out. She has several small plots of wheat and barley.

grains, seed saving

Maturing Wheat

These are heirloom varieties and not the more modern wheat, which is often not as tall. How pretty are the heads of wheat as they are maturing!

grains, seed saving


I have never grown sweet potatoes but I am going to have to give it a try. Sylvia has four varieties that she grows each year; Georgia Jet, Beauregard, Red Yam and Carolina Ruby. We spent some time going over the different way to create slips, which is what you use to plant sweet potatoes. Quite different from regular potatoes where you plant sections of the tubers.

slips, gardening

Sweet potato slips

There was also information on knowing when to harvest your seeds. For example tomatoes and melon seeds are ready when you eat the fruit unlike peppers, eggplants and cucumber where you have to let the vegetables over ripen before the seeds are ready to save.

Spacing was another topic that was covered, some plants need extra space if you are going to let them go to seed for example parsnips. Onion and leeks don’t require as much space.

seed saving, spacing

Leeks gone to seed

The number of plants to plant also varies. To collect a good sample of seeds from corn you need more than 100 plants to have a good gene pool to work from.

plant spacing, seed saving

Spacing of Escarole

I also learned that you can grow rice in Vermont! There are some varieties that do not require that they be grown in rice paddies. It will be interesting to follow this rice crop through the season.

rice, grains, seed saving

Rice plants

I really enjoy spending time with fellow gardeners. Especially when they are facing many of the same challenges you are. Here in Vermont we face a very short growing season with frosts as early as Labor Day and you really can’t start putting things in the ground until the end of May! Learning what other people are doing to extend their growing season is invaluable. Learning that by saving your own seeds you can actually develop seeds that have a better tolerance for the cold. Your seed viability also increases; Sylvia says she has seeds that are still 100% viable after five years!

gardening, Vermont

Another View of Sylvia’s Gardens

It was another wonderful class, I look forward to going back in July!

stone, walls

Garden walls


Linked to: AnOregonCottage, MsGreenthumbJean, ASouthernDreamer, BlissfulRhythm,, NaturalMothersNetwork

19 comments on “My Garden: Seed Saving Class #2

candice on June 13, 2012 2:54 pm

This garden is amazing. I am totally envious. I saved a some seeds last year, snap peas, scarlet runners & sweat pea flowers. all came up this year which was great…and I have have about 20 tomatoes springing up from the dirt because they saved themselves… ha! Ill leave most of them be, I dont think you can ever have too many tomatoes:) Thanks for your post, it was really interesting.
ps, do you think that you can grow sweet potatoes in washington? I always thought that you couldn’t?
cheers, C

Nancy on June 13, 2012 5:23 pm

Candice, I would think if we can grow sweet potatoes in Vermont you should be able to grow them in WA! I’m definitely going to give it a try next year!

candice on June 13, 2012 11:43 pm

yup, me too:) i’ve got 5 different varieties of regular/ fingerlings going but just thought sweets wouldn’t grow up here. My kids love those things. oh, and I posted a rhubarb marmalade, as a side to your chutney recipes:) take care ! C

Joyce M on June 14, 2012 4:56 am

I really enjoyed this informative post. The photographs tagged along with the subject material was perfect. Nice job!
Joyce M

mary on June 14, 2012 8:10 pm

Would love to go to a class like this!! Going to look up how to grow sweet potato slips as I would love to grow some.

I am giving away some iris on my blog- come sign up!

bee blessed

Sandy B on June 15, 2012 12:32 pm

Beautiful pictures. Sounds like an interesting class.

Athena at Minerva's Garden on June 15, 2012 2:33 pm

What an interesting post–I didn’t know about the variations in timing of harvesting seed from tomato vs. eggplant and cukes. I’ve never tried to save seed, but my mom, another avid gardener, has done it for years. Also a very beautiful garden, and that rock wall in the garden–wow!

Beth on June 15, 2012 9:21 pm

I believe in seed saving and would love to learn more about it. Would love the class you are taking.

Nancy on June 16, 2012 12:58 am

It’s the most interesting class! Great teacher and great folks attending! I take pages of notes!

Lisa Lynn on June 19, 2012 7:12 pm

Great photos! This is what I wish my garden looked like :)

I have a book called ‘Saving Seeds’ by Rhodale Press that gives a lot of very helpful information about saving your own seeds from open pollinated varieties. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in this, especially if you aren’t lucky enough to have a class nearby!

I am hoping to save more seeds to become more self reliant and to help preserve varieties that could otherwise be lost to big agribusiness.

Thanks for the great post!

Rebecca @ Natural Mothers Network on June 20, 2012 10:42 am

What an amazing garden, the images really do it justice. It just makes me want to jump off my backside and go garden-right now! Thanks for sharing this with us on Seasonal Celebration Sunday! Rebecca x

Deb on June 20, 2012 11:59 am

I’m so glad I checked back over at Bloomin’ Tuesday to see your entry! I loved this post…so very interesting. I wish I could have been in class with you! I esp enjoyed reading about the sweet potato planting. Thanks for sharing about your class…Sylvia has beautiful gardens.

Nancy on June 20, 2012 12:02 pm

Deb, I have to say Sylvia has the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen! She inspires me every time I go to her house!

Carol Hansen on June 20, 2012 12:11 pm

Very interesting post. I have been experimenting with growing more of my veggies etc. from seed this year. Some are working well others not so much.

Kathy on June 20, 2012 5:15 pm

I just kept saying to my self, ‘Really’! Such wonderful nuggets of information – I am thrilled to learn! Delightsome post! I appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

kaye on June 20, 2012 5:56 pm

Amazing the different shades of green. What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing!

Tootsie on June 21, 2012 9:50 pm

thanks for linking in this week!!! I am sharing this on the Tootsie Time facebook page!

Until next time….Happy Gardening!

¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.

Nancy on June 21, 2012 10:02 pm

Thanks Tootsie!

renita hickey on August 5, 2012 8:56 pm

Can I get seeds from my silvia plants, I planted these for the first time. Thank you

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