Thursday, 23 June 2011

Save your own seeds - beetroot, chard and spinach

Beetroot, Chard and Spinach

Beetroot, leaf beet, perpetual spinach and chard are all members of the same family and will cross readily. They are biennial, and flower in their second year. Select a minimum of 6-8 plants to leave for seed and re-plant them in the spring.  As the seed stalks form, growing to over 1m high, tie them together and support with a stake.  Then as they develop cover the group of flower heads with a paper bag and shake the bag from time to time to make sure that pollen is distributed within the bag. 

As the large, prickly seeds mature, keep an eye on them, and start to harvest as they turn brown and start to dry out. You can either cut entire seedstalks, or harvest mature seeds by rubbing them into a bucket.  Make sure that the seeds are thoroughly dry before storage, and they should last at least four years.  

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