lettuce seed in a jar

Saving The OTR Homegrown Lettuce

We are Seed Savers At OTR Homegrown and our specialty crop has been breeding an OTR Homegrown Leaf Lettuce.

Seed saving is an important part of the food process. Without seeds, there is no food. At OTR Homegrown we have been saving our leaf lettuce seed every season for 6 seasons now.

As stated in a previous article about this strain, The leaf lettuce varieties I started with was the Heirloom Leaf Lettuce Collection from Seeds Savers Exchange. Every season it is grown and the seeds are saved the more the strain acclimates to the downtown Cincinnati urban environment (which is different than that of the suburban environment).

Saving Two Year Old Lettuce Seed.

My wife loves me and it takes a special woman to love an urban gardener. Or any gardener for that type. FOr the many reasons I say that I give you one real good reason in this tray of two year old lettuce I had stashed somewhere in a bag in the garage.
bolted two year old leaf lettuce

Two summers ago a season ended with so much lettuce seed that some got stashed into a bag and stored to work at during the winter months. It will be interesting to find the germination rates of this two year old seed.
Lettuce seed

To get the lettuce seed from the lettuce stalk I now first cut the top of the plant that has seeds off from the stock when harvesting the lettuce seed in the garden. In this bag though the whole plant, including the roots were stacked together en masse. I leave all that in the field.

First, I cut the seeds away from the stems using scissors. I put the seed pods and small stems into a wire strainer (siv), the lettuce seed is smaller than the small holes between the small wire sieve.

Lettuce Seed
Pushing hard rubbing and crushing the organic material into the sieve breaks open all of the lettuce pods containing the lettuce seed. Running them through the strainer several times ensures I get all of the lettuce seed and gets rid of the stems. Leaving the rest helps you see where you plant if you plant in soil. If you need to access the seed without organic matter further strain then use fans to blow away the other organic material, or your seed, into separate piles. Be cautious doing this to not scatter a mess of your seeds in an errant wind.

My organic gardening guru, Geri Guidetti taught me using seed envelopes for seed packages. That is cool for the seed as the paper package allows the seeds to literally “Breath”, which she says seeds need to do. But we use jars now as Josh found out the hard way with an intern spilling juice on a bag o’ seed~ ;( womp.
So a jar like this will go to Josh over at Name of urban greens. Though a jar made from…
lettuce seed in a jar

Saving This Years OTR Homegrown Lettuce Seed.

2014 Lettuce Seed
A story in itself as everything is, I am lucky to have harvested my seed this year. Thanks to the fact that the lettuce seed pods will dry onto the seed and stay there, they did not all fall off.

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