Collecting Seed (Peas)

As I sat in the morning sun with ants crawling over my bare feet and insects snapping by my head nestled under the corn stalks I told my oldest daughter that I think this may in fact be my favorite time of year in the garden. I love the simple, time consuming process of collecting seed from my heirlooms.

Both varieties of peas have made a strong push toward settling into seed. The British Wonder Pea, which we are growing for the first time this year, is nothing to write home about just about, 20 seeds if we are lucky. But the yellow snap pea is an entirely different story. We will be heading into our 4th generation of this particular pea. When we bought our start up pack from Seed Savers Exchange I think there were around 25 seeds or so, don't quote me but you get the idea. So far today we have easily taken in about 200 seeds and it is safe to say we are barely half way done.

If you are new to saving your own seeds I would recommend beans (which we will talk about at a later date)or peas to being with. It is a pretty straight process, the hardest part is not eating your own seed stock! At some point in the season when you have had your fill of peas simply stop harvesting the tender veggie and allow it to mature on the vine. When the plant begins to die off and it turns brown and brittle the seeds are ready for harvest. If you have a lot of patience or just simply enjoy the harvest, as I do, you can remove them by hand. Once the peas have been taken out of the dried pod set them out to dry for about two weeks. Depending on how much room you have you can dry them on some plates in the kitchen. Once they are dry and all chance of rot has passed put them in an air tight jar and stick them in your fridge for the winter. Be sure to label the jar so that when next season rolls around you don't stand there scratching your head trying to figure out the what, when and why of each container.

There is nothing more satisfying than growing your own food. . . . except maybe growing it from your own seed stock!

Best of luck!

Tobias Whitaker blogs for Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine. Click on the Mother Earth News logo at the bottom of the page for all of his post. You can also find him on Facebook at Seed To Harvest: Bossy Hen Homestead which is a central location for his homesteading blogs and his homeschooling blog, A Mile In Her Shoes: Tales Of A Stay-At Home Dad found here


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