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My daughters and I (ok, mostly my daughters
) have been having a lot of fun this year, taking food from the grocery store and turning it into something for our garden. For example, we cut up a red pepper and saved the seeds, planting some this year and saving some to plant next year. We saved some melon seeds as well (but didn't plant any this year as we don't have space in the garden yet- we need to reclaim more of the lawn before next year.) We've planted potatoes that got too old and grew eyes.

But shouldn't the potato plants also make new seeds, for "mystery" potatoes?How do we get carrot seeds from the carrots? What about the radishes? We just took some in from the garden (I forget if they started out as seeds from the store or seedlings from my uncle's garden) but I can't see any new seeds anywhere on the plant. Do they grow eyes like potatoes or do they have flowers somewhere that will seed? Did we miss it, or do we need to leave some in the ground longer so they can seed?

BTW, radish greens are absolutely delicious! I just had some radish and dandilion greens, fresh from our backyard, as a snack!

ETA: I also have some questions about our cucumbers. The little cucumbers started out green, but are now turning yellow. Are they supposed to do this?
 

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Welcome over to here, Ruth!

Well, some seeds you just have to buy b/c you don't know how/where they were grown. An example is a pumpkin, gourd, or cuke. Because, especially if you're buying local - a lot of these plants are not issolated enough to yield a "true" seed stock. Many varieties must be located X amount of space from other varieties, or they'll crossbreed and you'll end up with mutant pumpkins. Or cukes that taste like cantalope.

Also, I'm not sure I've ever heard of anyone collecting radish or carrot seeds, b/c you would need to wait for them to flower & go to seed. Okay if you're a farmer saving an old family variety, probably out of reach for most hobby gardeners.

As for your cukes now, it depends on the variety. Lemon cukes will be small & round & yellow. Regular cukes won't really be like that and it could be a sign they are too old or in need of water. But if they're already turning yellow, doubtful watering can save them.
 

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The melon seeds may not come out true to type. If there was cross pollination in/near the field it was grown, or, more likely, it was a hybrid melon, you may get iffy results from the seeds. Worth a shot though.

Potatoes. You can save the seeds from the flower/seed heads they send out, but if you want potatoes that come true to type, you need to save some little potatoes to use as seed potatoes the next year. You could end up with who knows what using just the little potato berries (about the size of a blueberry or so) - could be true to type, could be something new, could be something inedible. One of those things nature does to surprise us.

Carrots (and parsley and celery) need two years to set seed. Biennial I want to say? I always get those terms confused. You need to leave the carrots (only one variety at a time, otherwise they cross, they can also cross with Queen Anne's Lace if it grows within a few miles of your yard) to overwinter, then the greenery gets really tall, they make these big flowers, and set seed. It's really quite spectacular the first time you see it.

Radishes. You need to leave them in the ground. The greenery will go up and branch out. Almost like broccoli when that sets seed - off the main stem that goes up, you'll see little side shoots, and then bean-looking things come off those. Inside those bean things is where the seeds will be when they fully mature. Those only take a summer to set seed though, not two years.

Cucumbers. Just leave them on the vine to get as yellow and bitter as possible. Think of how big the cucumber seeds you planted were, and how big the cuke needs to get to accommodate them.
But once you have a maturing cucumber like that on the vine, that particular vine won't produce any more fruit. I'm only letting one cucumber mature to get seeds, and picking the rest.
 

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Great info from lmonter. Just a few things to add:

Potatoes: As lmonter mentioned, potato plants will grow fruit that looks kind of like a (poisonous!) green cherry tomato. You can save the seed just as you would from a tomato, plant it and grow it, dig up the tubers, store the best ones, and then replant them the following year. The potatoes you get may or may not be good - you never know. The benefit of starting with seed will be that seen cannot carry blight, so you know that you are starting off with healthy plants. The cons of this method are a) it takes 2 years to get usable tubers, and b) not all of your potato plants are likely to set seed, as a lot of the commercial hybrids are sterile.

Radishes: The seeds are so very easy to collect and save, it really doesn't make sense not to. Plant a whole bunch of radishes, and mark the 5 plants that turn out the nicest, so you remember not to harvest them. I like to pick the ones that bulb the fastest. As lmonter mentioned, they will grow a tall flower stalk, and will set long, bean-like pods. Once the pods are brown and dry, pick them, break them open, and save the seeds. My original seeds were a mix of french breakfast and cherry belle. It has been 2 years since I bought seed, and I now get some that look like f.b., some that look like c.b., and some that look like a mix of the two.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
My daughters and I (ok, mostly my daughters
) have been having a lot of fun this year, taking food from the grocery store and turning it into something for our garden. For example, we cut up a red pepper and saved the seeds, planting some this year and saving some to plant next year. We saved some melon seeds as well (but didn't plant any this year as we don't have space in the garden yet- we need to reclaim more of the lawn before next year.) We've planted potatoes that got too old and grew eyes.

But shouldn't the potato plants also make new seeds, for "mystery" potatoes?How do we get carrot seeds from the carrots? What about the radishes? We just took some in from the garden (I forget if they started out as seeds from the store or seedlings from my uncle's garden) but I can't see any new seeds anywhere on the plant. Do they grow eyes like potatoes or do they have flowers somewhere that will seed? Did we miss it, or do we need to leave some in the ground longer so they can seed?

BTW, radish greens are absolutely delicious! I just had some radish and dandilion greens, fresh from our backyard, as a snack!

ETA: I also have some questions about our cucumbers. The little cucumbers started out green, but are now turning yellow. Are they supposed to do this?
The carrot is a root, so no seeds. You'll need to buy carrot seeds. The tops will eventually put out a flower and make seeds, but what we eat is the root.

Peppers you need to watch out for, because you don't know what they were grown next to (actually, for lots of plants this is an issue -- its also why if you grow hot peppers right next to sweet peppers you might get a spicey surprise if you eat the seeds of a "sweet" pepper).
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by savithny View Post
The carrot is a root, so no seeds. You'll need to buy carrot seeds. The tops will eventually put out a flower and make seeds, but what we eat is the root.

Peppers you need to watch out for, because you don't know what they were grown next to (actually, for lots of plants this is an issue -- its also why if you grow hot peppers right next to sweet peppers you might get a spicey surprise if you eat the seeds of a "sweet" pepper).
You can even get a surprise with the pepper itself, it seems.

Anaheims are particularly sensitive in my experience. Grow them next to a jalapeno plant, you get hot Anaheims. Grow them next to sweet peppers, you get sweet Anaheims.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OK, so for the radishes, we need to save a few plants, let them get "over ripe" so we can harvest seeds for next year.

The cucumbers must be a variety that's supposed to turn yellow- we harvested one today (bright yellowish orange) and inside it was firm and delicious. I don't know what size these seeds were when they were planted, as the cucumbers and tomatoes were a gift from my uncle earlier in the season- he gave us a few healthy plants from his own garden, before we started playing around with seeds.

Can we save the cucumber seeds from the cucumber we just ate, or do we need to let a single cuke get "over ripe" to get usable seeds?

Do we need to worry about peppers if we only grow sweet peppers? We live on a 1/4 acre- do we need to worry about the wind cross-pollinating from neighbors who might be planting other kinds of peppers? I know the people on either side of us aren't growing peppers, but since we don't have a huge piece of property, do we need to worry about potential gardens a few houses away?
 
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