Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Seed Saving - Lettuce and Dill

One of the great benefits of planting heirlooms is that their seeds hold true to type.  If you have the time and inclination, you can save seeds from year to year from your own home garden.  Seed saving is something that I've been wanting to try for awhile, but just somehow never found the time.  This year, I decided to start simple with lettuce and dill. 

This spring, I refrained from harvesting a few Tennis Ball and Merveille de Quatre Saisons lettuce plants and let them flower and produce seed pods.  A few weeks ago, I cut down the seed stalks and let them dry.  Then, I carefully removed the seeds from the pods.  When finished, I packaged the seeds in envelopes. 
I let the heads of dill seed dry in the garden (since there were so many!), and harvested the heads once the seeds were mostly dry.  In retrospect, this was a mistake.  While there were plenty of seeds to risk a few dropping to the ground before harvest, my garden has now been completely taken over by dill.  Next year I will know to be much more vigilant about removing the seeds before they drop! 

I saved a jar of dill seeds and when I was done I was surprised that my hands smelled like pickles!  I didn't realize that dried dill seed was quite so aromatic!  Even after washing my hands, they still smelled!
I found an old shoe box to store the lettuce and dill seed over the winter.  Next spring, I will plant my new stock of seeds in the garden and hope they germinate!