Seed Saving Tips

COMPANION PLANTING OF VEGETABLES

Plants interact with each other in a variety of ways.  Some of these interactions are beneficial and others less so.  Careful placement of plants reduces pests and also enhances the yield.  Complimentary placement allows for maximum production in a given area and time.  Deep and shallow rooted plants placed together will not compete for space and nutrients.  Larger plants provide shade protection and support for others. 

Marigolds when planted close beside crops will discourage nematodes and other soil born pests from attacking the roots and tubers of crops. Marigolds will also discourage whitefly attacks on tomatoes and peppers.

Plant Onions in rows beside your Carrots to confuse the carrot root fly which is attracted by the smell of carrot. Coriander works in the same way!

Some of the combinations commonly observed with good results. 

a)      Tomato-carrot-onion

b)      Beans-carrot-cucumber-maize-potato

c)       Okra-chilli-brinjal-beans

d)      Carrot-radish-tomato-onion 

e)      Cucumber-beans-maize-sunflower-tomato-radish                                                                         

Suitable and Non-suitable combinations of vegetables

Chief Crop

Suitable

Non-Suitable

Beans

Potato, Carrot, Cucumber, Cabbage, Cauliflower

Onion, Garlic

 

Cabbage

Potato, Onion, Greens, Scented plants

 

Tomato

Carrot

Peas, Onion, Tomato, Greens

 

Aniseeds

Maize

Potato, Peas, Cucumber, Pumpkin, Beans

 

 

Cucumber

 

Beans, Corn, Beans, Peas, Radish, Sunflower

Potato, Scented plants

Onion

Tomato, Strawberry

 

Peas, Beans

Garlic

Greens

 

 

Peas

Carrot, Beans, Radish, Cucumber, Corn

 

Onion, Garlic, Potato,

Potato

Beans, Radish, Corn, Cabbage, Bringal, Marigold

Pumpkin, Cucumber, Sunflower

Pumpkin

Corn, medicinal plants

 

Tomato, Potato

Radish

Peas, Cucumber, Greens

 

 

Sunflower

Cucumber

 

Potato

Tomato

Onion, Carrot, Marigold, Mint

 

Potato, Cabbage

Chilly

Coriander, Beans, Onion

 

Tomato

 POLLINATION TABLE

Anyone who can successfully grow a crop is sufficiently equipped to save its seed.  There is nothing that a farmer does not know about seed production

Name of the plant

Annual, Biennial, Perennial

Cross-pollinating and/or

Self pollinating

Wind/Insect pollinated

How many years seeds can be stored  

How many seeds to the gram

Amaranth

A

C

W

5

800

Beans

A

S

 

 

5-10

Beetroot

B

C

W & I

5

50

Bitter gourd

A

C

I

5

12

Brinjal

A,P

S, C

I

5

200

Cabbage

B

C

I

4

250

Chilli

A, P

S, C

I

5

150-200

Carrot

B

C

I

3

1000

Cauliflower

B

C

I

4

500

Cow pea

A

S

 

5

50

Cucumber

A

C

I

4

40

B. Gourd

A

C

I

5

30

Okra

A

S

 

5

15

Onion

B

C

I

2

250

Winged bean

A, P

S

 

2

18

Tomato

A

S

 

4

400

Mint

V,C

I

I

1

40000

 

Some varieties have a problem when they flower at the same time because they are cross pollinators. Any insect pollinated plant needs to be isolated from other varieties to maintain purity of the plant.  Leaving enough distance between two or more varieties to prevent contamination from insects or wind blown pollen can produce pure seeds.   

Isolate them in time:

This is suitable for crops where all the plants flower simultaneously and for a short time. If land is small one crop can be grown early and one mid-season and one later as each will shed pollen at a different time.

Bag them: when only a small amount of seed and absolute purity is needed, covering the blossoms of such fruit as tomatoes with a paper bag is adequate. Plastic bags are not suitable because they prevent airflow. The bags exclude insects and any pollen that is flying about at the time of flowering and can be removed once the fruit is set.                              

SEED COLLECTION

The best time of the day for seed collection is about 10 am when the dew has evaporated.

General guidelines

  Fruits that have seeds in their pulp such as tomatoes and bringal are best picked when the fruit is rather ripe, turning soft, little after the table stage.

  Fruits of cucumber, okra will need to reach full size and then left for approximately another three weeks to allow the seeds to mature

  With the plants that tend to shatter and seeds fall on the ground when they are ripe such as carrot. In such cases the whole bush can be pulled out before all the seeds are ripe and left to ripen further in the shade.  

 Bringal

The fruit is allowed to fully mature on the plant till it is ready to drop off. The fruits are cut open and seed bearing part in separated from the pulp into a water container. Work away at separating out the seeds, till they sink to the bottom, and the pulp with water can be poured off. Two to three washing may be necessary.  The seeds are spread for drying and when they are thoroughly dry they are  stored in a cool dry place.                                   

Ladies finger

Pods that are still green but are fully mature can be harvested and later left to dry until they split open.  Each pod is broken open and seeds collected,  

Tomato

The fruit is cut horizontally into half. The seeds and surrounding gelatinous pulp is scooped from each section into a container. Water is not added unless the mixture is definitely not starting to dry out. The container is labelled and set it in a warm place for 4 days. A foul smelling mould that grows over the top attracts fruit flies. The fungus eats away the gelatinous coat, which surrounds each tomato seed. This process destroys germination inhibitors present in this coat and also destroys seed borne diseases. After seeds become good and mouldy, the contents are emptied off the container into a strainer held under running water; the contents are washed gently with the hand. The pulp washes out through the mesh and the seeds become clean. After washing the strainer is flipped over to empty the seeds on to a paper towel. The seeds are labelled and left to dry.

Chilly

The fruits are allowed to ripen fully on the plant until they turn red. When they are fully ripened even a bit soft fruits are gathered, cut open, seeds removed and left to dry fully before storing them.