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Seed Saving/bagging technique

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Seed Saving/bagging technique

Post  busygirl on 6/26/2011, 9:53 pm

I had already bagged my tomatoes when the subject came up in another thread, but it did stop raining long enough today for me to bag the few pepper varieties that are starting to show blooms. In case anyone is interested, here is a more detailed description of how I do it than I offered when discussing tomatoes......

I don't usually do this left-handed or even one-handed for that matter, but hopefully the sacrifice to get the pics will be helpful. Laughing

I start with a home made bag made from a cut up row cover (the lightest weight of sew-in interfacing is also good). The bag is trapezoidal in shape. These started out (before sewing them together) as 8 in at the wide end and 5 in at the narrow end and 12 in. long. By chance, the piece I started with was 21 in. x 24 in. so I just folded it in half and came up with the measurements that would give me three bags from the piece. The main thing is that the opening end be large enough to go over your hand, and the wide end big enough to allow for some additional growth of the leaves that will be inside with the blossom.



I turn the bag inside-out over my hand and identify the blossom I want to isolate (the small one that hasn't opened yet).





With the bag inside-out on my hand, I take the stem between two fingers with the leaf cluster and blossom in my hand.


Then I just turn the bag right-side-out over my hand and onto the plant, tying a bow to secure it against the stem.


Hopefully you can see that the open bloom is undisturbed, but the other one is now bagged for isolation.


A shot of another plant that shows the bloom inside the bag more clearly (I hope). The original pics are pretty good, but no guarantees in resizing for the forum.....

busygirl

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Re: Seed Saving/bagging technique

Post  westie42 on 6/27/2011, 12:46 am

Thats a new and interesting topic to me. How do you decide which and how many of a kind to bag. Does the fruit grow just as well in that confinement and when do you harvest the bags contents.

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Re: Seed Saving/bagging technique

Post  busygirl on 6/27/2011, 7:00 am

The book I use as a reference (Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth) says to choose an early fruit from the healthiest plants (heat, disease, and pest resistant, vigorous growth, etc), so that is what I try to do. I only save seeds for myself, so I usually do one fruit from at least two different plants of each variety.

They only goal is to prevent cross-pollination, so once the fruit is set, you remove the bag and mark the branch with a string to identify the fruit you want to save for seeds so you don't harvest it. But yes, the bagged portion of the plant grows well. I have actually had to re-position the bags on some of my tomatoes because the new growth inside had filled them up before any fruit set. Some even had new blossom clusters in them. I may actually break down and make some bigger bags for them even though I wanted to use the old bags for as long as possible because I am cheap like that.

I leave the fruit on the plant as long as possible to the "overripe" stage to give the seeds time to mature. I think of it in the context of how a plant would reproduce in nature with the fruit dropping off to the ground reseed the area. I let them get soft but try to catch them before they actually drop.


Last edited by busygirl on 6/27/2011, 7:02 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

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Re: Seed Saving/bagging technique

Post  quiltbea on 6/27/2011, 9:28 am

Busygirl,
Very good visual aid for seed saving.

Have you tried peppers yet? I make my bags at least 12-13" square because I need them to fit over the whole tops of the peppers. In my case, I use mesh/net fabric. I'm a quilter and have lots of fabric around and find I like the netting. It gives good air circulation and sun and rain continue to aid the growing blossoms but the insects can't get thru. Its difficult to get a small bag over one or two pepper blossoms because of how they grow on the plant, hence the large bag.

Peppers and tomatoes are both self-pollinating.

Another tip people, the variety has to be OP or open-pollinated. An F1 or hybrid, won't breed true.

I'm not hi-jacking the thread, just adding some info regarding peppers. I hope you don't mind. You did a good job with the photos.

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Re: Seed Saving/bagging technique

Post  westie42 on 6/27/2011, 10:35 am

Thank you both for the good informative help. Now my question is about the pepper bags. That seems like a large mesh gauge that would keep insects out but looks like wind blown pollen could pass thru and onto the flower inside it. Am I mistaken or is there more to the issue. LOL I think I need to get that book now that you have peaked my interest.

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Re: Seed Saving/bagging technique

Post  quiltbea on 6/27/2011, 12:06 pm

Since toms and peps are both self-pollinating and start pollinating themselves even before the blossom opens, I'm only concerned that a bee might somehow cross-pollinate them in their work as they walk over the middle of a flower.
The netting works just fine to prevent that happening.

If you're at all worried, use the insect barrier fabric as shown above by busygirl. That should prevent any wind pollinating.

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Re: Seed Saving/bagging technique

Post  busygirl on 6/27/2011, 4:05 pm

@westie42 wrote:Thank you both for the good informative help. Now my question is about the pepper bags. That seems like a large mesh gauge that would keep insects out but looks like wind blown pollen could pass thru and onto the flower inside it. Am I mistaken or is there more to the issue. LOL I think I need to get that book now that you have peaked my interest.

Westie,

I think pepper and tomato pollen is too heavy to actually be wind blown very far. That should only be an issue with stuff that is normally wind-pollinated like spinach or lettuce, and who cares if lettuce pollen gets on your peppers? Like so many things, use what you are comfortable with. I got out of sewing for other people YEARS AGO (a set of bride's maid dresses sent me over the edge) so I didn't have anything suitable for bags in my fabric stash when I made the ones I am currently using. The row cover was readily available in my area, and the nearest fabric store is an hour away (don't get me started on that one), so I used the row cover. It is like deciding what to plant. Do what works for you.

The book is a great resource. I believe it was originally published for those wanting to become active in Seed Savers Exchange, but it has good info to adapt for personal use, too.

Have you tried peppers yet? I make my bags at least 12-13" square
because I need them to fit over the whole tops of the peppers. In my
case, I use mesh/net fabric. I'm a quilter and have lots of fabric
around and find I like the netting. It gives good air circulation and
sun and rain continue to aid the growing blossoms but the insects can't
get thru. Its difficult to get a small bag over one or two pepper
blossoms because of how they grow on the plant, hence the large bag.

Bea,

so far I have been pretty successful at finding one or two blossoms to bag on the peppers. The first photos in my example were from a sweet red, and the last was a jalapeno plant. My poor little habaneros are so small at this point, though, I can see the possibility of having to bag the whole plant in their situation!! That is if it ever gets warm enough for them to get flowers anyway (but that is veering into the rant thread--it has been one of those kind of Mondays so I will stop here).

Edited to add-no worries about me thinking you are hi-jacking. I don't consider myself an expert and welcome any and all opinions.


Last edited by busygirl on 6/27/2011, 4:24 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : additional info)

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Re: Seed Saving/bagging technique

Post  westie42 on 6/27/2011, 4:26 pm

Thank you for the schooling. Interestingly Seed Savers Exchange is just a few miles from here and I thoroughly enjoy going there to tour their farmstead they have a very active link with the Oneota health food coop also at Decorah where I frequently lurk and the same town where the famous Eagle cam is located at the Trout hatchery.

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Re: Seed Saving/bagging technique

Post  busygirl on 6/27/2011, 4:31 pm

@westie42 wrote:Thank you for the schooling. Interestingly Seed Savers Exchange is just a few miles from here and I thoroughly enjoy going there to tour their farmstead they have a very active link with the Oneota health food coop also at Decorah where I frequently lurk and the same town where the famous Eagle cam is located at the Trout hatchery.

Cool!! I would be so fascinated to do the tour and see their set up. Maybe some day. The book would be a good excuse for you to go over there again. I bet they stock it in their shop. I got my most recent copy from amazon.com, but I think I have seen it in the sse catalog.

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Re: Seed Saving/bagging technique

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