We moved to far south Huntsville, long story. Larger house to accommodate my father.. and much larger lot. I'll be posting pictures, before and afters, but thought I would just break the ice now with a little post on saving seed.
Don't do what I've done :)
First, the part I did right!
Please welcome the Bonita Brassica! This plant is the result of saving seed when the Napa cabbage, kale and collards were blooming and setting seed all at the same time in a small garden. That was in the early summer of 2011... I planted the seeds in March and they are, as you can see, not like any of the above listed plants. The leaves are thicker than Chinese cabbage, but rather like a very young collard, not leathery or stiff. They actually look rather like choi on the bottom, tho they are green and not white. Now, they may have some choi in them since there was choi blooming in the back yard at the time, who knows. These are mature plants, since they are already setting seed with the hot weather last week.
The taste is not to die for...rather tasteless actually. BUT... it is a 'new' plant.. one I shall now mercifully not grow again :) I knew I would not be getting anything 'pure' out of the saved seeds, but it was interesting to see how the plants crossed up.
So, if you are saving seed..start with a good 'heirloom' seed, try to make sure that nothing in the same family is growing anywhere close (see a good seed saving book for distances) and take notes on how and what you saved. Make sure you dry and store the seed correctly ( you might try this book, or this one) and grow it out.
As for what really not to do... Do not get frazzled with moving and snatch seed setting lettuce stalks and shove them in a jar. Well.. you can, as I did. I grabbed these last summer as we were moving rather quickly.. our house sold before it went on the market (yeah!) but we left a lot of dirt and 'stuff' behind that we are missing now (boo!).
I know that this is lettuce.. and I HOPE it is a red lettuce that we particularly liked. But I won't know until I plant it and since I just found it under the bed (that isn't where you keep your seed stash?) I will have to plant a little now and a little this fall. The cool spring gives me hope that I can sneak some in before the bolting season begins. Label your seed when you store it, you will not remember, even if it was the only lettuce growing in the front yard.
A note: lettuce 'flower'/seedheads are rather like dandelions. If you are saving seed while the plant is still alive, wait until the seedhead is really fluffed before harvesting, the immature seedheads look a bit like a paintbrush and do not 'ripen' after being removed from the plant.
gosh.. that wasn't so bad. Ice broken, posts to follow :)