Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Seed Saving: Broccoli

Broccoli plant that has gone to seed.

Cole Crops include a variety of plants belonging to the Cruciferae or mustard family, including Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kohlrabi and Kale. These crops enjoy cool seasons and are highly nutritious.

Our family loves Cole Crops. This year we have learned to harvest the seed from these plants so we can continue to grow more. The seeds from these plants can all be harvested in the same way.

Here is how you harvest the seeds:

Fully ripened Seed Pods
1. Allow your broccoli plant to flower (it is best to reserve one plant just for seed, do not trim this plant for consumption, just allow it to flower). After the plant flowers small green pods will grow.  Allow these pods to fully ripen on the plant before harvesting your seeds.  The pods will turn a light brown color and dry out. Once the pods are brown you can pull up the plant. Green pods will rarely produce viable seed, even if they are allowed to dry after the plant has been pulled.

2. Inside each pod are tiny black seeds (broccoli seeds). You can open each pod individually, but there is an easier way to harvest all of the seeds.  Simply put all of the pods into a paper bag. Smash the bag with a mallet or walk on it or simply crunch it with your hands, this is what I did. The seed will separate from the pod shell and fall to the bottom of the bag.

3. Now you can simply pour your seeds into a suitable container and store in a cool, dark place. We actually store our seeds in the refrigerator.

In each pod are tiny black broccoli seeds.
Place all the pods in a paper bag.
Smash to separate the seed from the pod.

The seed will fall to the bottom of the bag.
Harvested broccoli seed.

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