seed saving

Chinese cabbage gone to seed

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Chinese cabbage, gone to seed

We planted about eight chinese cabbages, grown from seed. Most of them we ate, even if we had to fight it out with the slugs for the meals.

With the warming weather, however, a number of the cabbages bolted straight to seed. No matter, a good opportunity to seed save for next year.

Like broccolini, the plants grow to an immense size, with a profusion of yellow flowers much loved by bees. I let a pair got to seed together, to make sure they pollinated successfully, and the seed pods are already growing.

We’ve got a small jar of broccolini seeds. I suspect we’ll have the same for chinese cabbages. Drop by and we’ll share some when they’re ready…

Snowpeas have bolted to seed

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The snowpeas that got away from us

Presumably due to the handful of scorching hot days, the snowpeas have decided to bolt to seed. We’ve had a reasonable number of edible pods, but once the they start to swell up (as in the photo above), the point of no return has been passed.

All is not lost, and I’m going to save them for seed. The plants are healthy and vigorous, and according to the Seed Savers Handbook, I should wait until the peas rattle in the pod. I don’t think this will take long if the heat keeps up…

Broccolini going to seed

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Broccoli in flower is an impressive sight
Broccoli in flower is an impressive sight

While we were away on holiday, the biggest of our broccolini plants bolted to seed. As you can see above, it’s quite a sight! This seemed like an ideal opportunity to practice our seed saving for the first time.

Important tip:

Reading up the Seed Savers Handbook, I discovered that broccoli is self-sterile. That is, you need bees to spread pollen between more than one plant for seeds to form. You then let the seeds form on the plant, cut the whole lot out, and let it dry inside.

In this case, my timing was a bit out. One plant was flowering profusely, while the others were still catching up. I’ve stopped harvesting the rest of the broccolini, and hopefully this will get enough plants flowering at the same time to generate some seeds. I’ll report back.

No shortage of flowers (and bees)
No shortage of flowers (and bees)