Gardening Tips Seed Saving

Saved Seed, Variety, Real Soil will Make a Difference

As mentioned in previous posts, purchased seed is problematic and seems more so each year. Seed saved from crops grown in my garden always germinates more quickly.

Winter Density is the variety of lettuce that I depend on most to take me through at least 10 months of the year, although I plant other varieties as well in most years.

Opportunity to Share

In mid April I had the opportunity to share some seedlings (for what would  be my second spring planting) with Susan, a friend and reader who lives in this area.

Having some purchased seed at home, she was a bit hesitant to take the handful that I scooped out of a flat thick with seedlings. But she did.

On June 13th I received an email with pictures from Susan reporting on the results. She writes:

‘Well, Theresa, you are right in raving about Winter Density.  I planted most of the seedlings you gave me in the garden:

This row is 4-5 feet long.”

“They have done amazingly well.  The long cool spring has helped.  This row is 4-5’ long.  The seedlings I put in a pot have not grown as much.  And my other lettuce seeds didn’t do much.  

“The seedlings I put in a pot have not grown as much.”

“The soil in the garden is obviously much better. I have always grown lettuce, but have never grown such beautiful lettuce nor have I enjoyed eating the lettuce as much as I have enjoyed the Winter Density.  I thoroughly enjoy it.”

“This morning I picked a lot in a very short amount of time.  The leaves are large and are still very tasty.

“The leaves are large and are still very tasty.”

From what Susan told me previously, she has many rabbits that frequent her yard. And they have full access to her garden.  Happily she added this note to her report:

I have rabbits in the yard nearly every evening, but they have not bothered the lettuce or the green beans!!!

“Thank you so much for all of your help!!!”

Final Thoughts

Why not give Winter Density a try.

If it’s too hot for lettuce in your area now try starting it when things cool a bit in the fall.  It’ll  grow all winter and with cover when temperatures drop below 28ºF.

Plants that feed you through the winter will also take you through until your spring plantings are ready.  Then they’ll get tall, flower, and set seed.

My saved seed germinates well for at least 3 years and that’s a conservative number.  So if for some reason you miss a year saving seed, you’ll still be ok.


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  • I have been finding it very hard to find some of my favourite seeds and I’m looking at saving as a necessary part of gardening and if I start mine and purchased most of the time saved are better. Always nice to hear from you

    Happy gardening

    Ray Kent

  • These lettuce plants look so healthy and delicious! If/when I find Winter Density in New Zealand I will definitely give it a try 🙂

    I’m also having troubles with the germination rates of bought seeds recently, I had to buy seedlings to fill up the garden this season (there were also other factors but the seed failure was the major one!). I’m hoping that the seeds saved from this plants will be more successful, even if they were store bought…

    And also for me the plants grown in pots or planters are never as successful as the ones in the garden. I know it’s probably me not feeding the pot soil enough.. I tend to forget about it!! And that’s why I love so much my well-prepared and covered garden soil that takes care of itself – thank you Theresa!!!

  • I have been growing winter density per your info from a while back and I LOVE it!
    Thank you for sharing such good news.

  • We must save seeds! It’s a bit of work, but well worth it. 3 years ago I struggled to grow Cilantro and babied it and got it going and saved seeds from it. The second year those seeds were relatively easy to grow and now this 3rd year? Oh man! I have cilantro coming up *everywhere* (which is fine with me, I’d rather have that than weeds. The same goes for some parsnips I tried to grow. Those are now coming up all over the place as well. Along with Dill, lettuce, and many other things. Once our saved seeds “evolve” or “adapt” to our growing conditions it’s absolutely amazing what will happen. When you do purchase seeds (and I’m doing *much* less of that than I used to), just be sure to try and find heirloom open-pollinated varieties and you will be very pleased with subsequent crops as the years go by. Free food is the way we need to be thinking about this. If we save seeds, compost, and practice water conservation, we truly can have 100% free food. Thanks so much for your articles! I’ve sent them to many others over the last year or so.

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