Seed Saving Guide

Vegetable *good for beginners Cycle Pollination Pollinator Isolation Distance Seed Longevity Notes
Bean* A Self 100’ 2-3 yrs Lose vigor rapidly
Beet/Chard B Cross Wind 1/2 mi 3-5 yrs Beets X w/ Chards
Broccoli/Kale/Cauliflower B Cross Insects 1/2 mi 3-5 yrs X-ing among brassica species is complex, consult a good reference bookCarrot
Carrot B Cross Insects 1500′ 2-3 yrs X’s w/ wild species
Corn A Cross Wind 1/2 mi 2-3 yrs Adequate population essential
Cucumber A Cross Insects 1500′ 5-10 yrs Harvest at yellow blimp stage
Eggplant A Self 150′ 2-3 yrs
Leek B Cross Insects 1500′ 2 yrs
Onion B Cross Insects 1500′ 1 yr
Lettuce* A Self 50′ 2-3 yrs Need long season for seed
Melon A Cross Insects 1500′ 5-10 yrs Muskmelons will not X with watermelons
Mustard A Cross Insects 1/2 mi 3-5 yrs X’s with wild species
Pea* A Self 50′ 2-3 yrs Do not save seed from diseased plants
Pepper A both Insects 500′ 2-3 yrs Some varieties X more readily than others
Radish A Cross Insects 1500′ 3-5 yrs
Spinach A Cross Wind 1/2 mi 2-3 yrs
Squash/Pumpkin A Cross Insects 1500′ 2-5 yrs C. moschata 2-3 yrs, C. pepo & C. maxima 3-5 yrs. These 3 species generally do not cross.
Tomato* A Self 25’-100’ 5-10 yrs Potato-leaf types generally need the greater isolation distance.

 

KEY

Cycle: A=annual, B=biennial

Pollination: Self=self-pollinated, Cross=outcrossed, pollinated by another plant

Isolation Distance: recommended distance by which different varieties must be separated to prevent unwanted cross-pollination

Seed Longevity: Averages, not guarantees. Seed longevity depends on the conditions under which the crop was grown and how the seeds have been stored.

Minimum Populations: Crossers require minimum populations to maintain vigor and avoid inbreeding depression. Some recommended minimums: cucumbers, squash, melons- 25 plants; radish, brassicas, mustards- 50-100; sweet corn- 200.

 

adapted from Fedco Seeds Seedsaving Chart: www.fedcoseeds.com