Seed Saving Class: Brassicas, lettuce, etc

Attention Chico and Redding area seed savers! We are teaching a class on saving seeds from your cool weather crops this weekend at the Chico Grange. The class will be held from 1-3 pm on Saturday, June 29th. We will be discussing best practices when saving seeds from Brassicas, Lettuces, Carrots, Beets and more. There will also be a hands on portion of the class where participants will have a chance to winnow brassica and pea seed. I have attached our handout for the class below the flier. This is a free workshop but does require pre-registration at

Redwood Seed Saving



Seed Saving: Brassicas and other Winter Crops

With Kalan Redwood and Sasha Illig of Redwood Seeds

Botanical Classifications :            Genus                 Species                              Common Name

                                                           Brassica               oleracea                         Broccoli, cabbage, etc.

Flower Structure:

 Perfect Flower copy



Inbreeder-  Perfect flowers, self pollinated, 20 plant populations

Outbreeder-  Needs insects or wind to pollinate. Larger population needed, 75-100 plants to maintain genetic diversity.

Open Pollinated(OP)-  Variety is stable and you can save true to type seeds

Hybrid-  Cross between two OP varieties. You cannot save true to type seeds

Heirloom-  OP variety that is 40-50 years old

Biennial-  Needs period of cold (vernalization) to produce seed. Usually two years.

Annual-  Produces seed in one year

Dioecious- Male and female plants

Monoecious- Male and female flowers on same plant



Carrot  Daucus carrota  -Biennial. Outbreeding, insect pollinated. Will cross with Queen Ann’s Lace, Isolation .5 mi, Allow umbels to dry then harvest.  Dig roots for selection and replant or store for spring.

Celery  Apium graveolens –Biennial, Outbreeding, .5 m isolation, insect pollinated. Very small seed. Dill  Anethum graveolens, Parsley  Petroselinium crispum, Cilantro Coriandrum sativum- Overwintering annuals, Outbreeder, insect pollinated. Allow to dry in garden



Beet and Chard  Beta vulgaris-  Biennial, Outbreeder, wind pollinated. Chard and beets will cross with one another. Isolation of .5 miles or more. Dig up beet roots for selection and replanting.

Spinach  Spinacea oleraceae- Annual,Dioecious, Outbreeder, wind pollinated. Isolation- 5miles. Really likes cool mild weather, Seed set is day light sensitive, 12-15 hours light will cause plants to bolt. Very fine pollen.

Orach  Atriplex hortensis-  Annual, Outbreeder, wind pollinated, daylight sensitive



Lettuce  Lactuca sativa- Overwintering annual, Inbreeder, Flower emerges in one morning and sets seed. Isolation 10 ft. Seeds mature over a 6 week span. Harvest as they mature into bag or cut entire plant when most seeds are mature. Dry process.



Brassica oleracea Broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale, cauliflower, collards, kohlrabi: (Biennial and mostly self incompatible)
  juncea Mustard- Tendergreen mustard, Red Giant mustard, Green Wave Mustard, Indian mustard, mustard greens: (self compatible)
  nigra Black mustard
  rapa Turnips( self incompatible), Raab, Chinese cabbage, Chinese mustard-mizuna, tatsoi, bok choy
  napus Rutabaga, Siberian Kale- Red Russian Kale
Raphanus sativus Radish- self incompatible
Lepidium Sativum Garden Cress
Eruca Sativa Arugula, Roqette

Outbreeders, insect pollinated, population 75-100 for good genetic diversity, .5 mile isolation, members of the same species will cross pollinate easily. Allow seed to dry on stalk. Clip stalks and crush pods to release seeds. Winnow to clean.



Peas  Pisum sativumAnnual, inbreeder- most flowers are pollinated before they open, isolation 10ft, allow peas to dry on vines, thresh and winnow, pea weevils are prolific in our region. Freezing for 4-5 days kills weevils. Be sure seeds are dry before freezing.


Store seeds in a cool, dry and dark location. Be sure your seeds are fully dry before storage.

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