Saving Spinach Seeds

I haven’t saved spinach seeds in a few years, so I thought I would give it a try. I bought all new seeds this spring. Now before you even think about saving seeds you need to be sure the plants you are going to save them from are not hybrid or terminator seeds. Most hybrid seeds will not reproduce true to the variety you want and saved terminator seeds will not germinate.

Here are a few links:

http://www.globalissues.org/article/194/terminator-technology

http://www.ethicalinvesting.com/monsanto/terminator.shtml

http://www.banterminator.org/The-Issues/Introduction

http://attra.ncat.org/sorg/seeds.html list of non GMO seeds.

Buying open pollinated, heirloom or organic seeds to start your plants with is the only option that will work if you want to save your own seeds.

So here is how I did it. I let a few spinach plants bolt and go to seed. In looking at the plants there are what looks like seeds on two very different looking plants although they are realy the same variety. In this case Giant Nobel Spinach. They are male or female producing plants. Sorry I didn’t save a picture of them.

spinach seeds drying

Seeds drying in the barn

The male tend to be shorter, and thin, coming to a point at the top. They also will have what looks like yellow balls under their leaves. For some reason they die back and disappear long before the others even start to turn brown. So I usually don’t worry about them all that much. Although while they are flowering there is a lot of yellow pollen that can be seen.

 The female usually is taller and has leaves growing all the way up the stalk, and they will have green balls that are the seeds. They have clumps of seeds under their leaves some times 2 and many times more.

I let my plants stay in the ground until the stalks, leaves and seeds are dry and brown.  Pull up the male plants (if I see any) and put them in the compost. I hang mine for a week or so before storing them. I use a retractable clothes line in the barn to hang them on.

The seeds are easy to pull of the stalks with just my fingers. I usually save 20 or so plants and this gives me more than enough seeds for our use and some to share.

seed packetI store them in envelopes in a cool dark place. Don’t forget to write on the envelope the variety and date saved. If I’m going to give them away I like to make my own envelopes and decorate them with rubber stamps or other artwork. Clicking on the image will enlarge it if you want to save or print it.

They are simple to put together. Just cut out and fold on the lines, then using a glue stick glue the tabs and press together.

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Posted on August 10, 2009, in Food Storage, Gardening, Planning, Saving Seeds, Tutorials and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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