Preppers: Letting Crops Go To Seed

How would someone go about letting their crops go to seed? As the 2018 summer growing season draws to a close, September and into October are an excellent time to let crops go to seed.

First, we are going to stop harvesting the crops you want to go to seed.  Maybe harvest some of the crops, while others are left alone.  We want to give the crops time to mature, then dry on the plant.  However, some crops such as cucumbers do not dry – they almost explode in a gooey mess.

Let’s take peppers, okra, and squash for examples.

Peppers and okra will mature on the plant, then dry.  Sometimes peppers will fall off the plant, but okra will not.  Saving okra and pepper seeds is as easy as taking the fruit (generic term used to describe stuff grown on plants) off the plant, then harvest the seeds.

When pepper seeds are ready to saved, the outside of the pepper should be dry and may break apart by hand.  Okra is the same way.  The outside of the okra pod should be a dry gray color when the seeds are ready to be harvested.

Yellow summer squash and zucchini should be left on the plant as long as possible.   Allow the outside of the squash and zucchini to become hard, which is when the seeds start to develop.  To harvest squash and zucchini seeds, cut the fruit open, harvest the seeds, allow to dry, then store in a dark cool location.

Corn is the same as okra.  Allow the corn husk to mature and dry on the plant, then harvest.  However, when the corn is ready sometimes deer and raccoons will bend the stalks over and ear the ears of corn. There have been times when my corn crops were raided by raccoons just days before I was going to harvest.

In short:

Let crops stay on the plant as long as possible.
Give plants at least a month, maybe six weeks to mature and develop seeds.
Some crops may dry on the stalk (okra, beans, corn), while others may not (cucumbers, squash, zucchini).
Seeds saved from hybrids may not bear true to form.  Meaning, they may not look just like their parent.
Related crops planted close together may produce hybrid seeds through cross pollination.

Take time to practice letting crops go to seed, harvest, and saving the seeds.  You never know when the future of your family may depend on it.

We will be talking about saving seeds in upcoming articles.

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