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You must *Admit* being a Seed-Saving Nutcase WHEN....

18 years ago

You tuck an old baggie or used envelope into your purse or pocket when going out for a walk, the store, or to someone's house: Just In Case.

You expect people who enter your Kitchen will appreciate the meaning and excitement behind odd containers of moldy tomato guk (and other aging fruit), since there are clearly ripening SEEDS in those moldy gelatinous masses!

The presence of fruitflies makes you feel lucky to have resucued that rare decaying Cantelope from the Compost. (And you still have tons of seed left from last year...)

You imagine others admire and relate to your seed-saving science experiments.

When all your best dishes and vases contain masses of dead sticks and mystery seedpods.

Your dismiss the dessicated mess in your former Sunroom with a wave of the hand saying, oh, that's my seed-drying room. And it's true, you need a separate room for this.

You notice that there's no counter space left for cooking, and your housemates are relegated to using a corner of the kitchen table or stove to prepare food.

You can immediately think of more than 5 ways to answer this question.

You secretly love finding seeds stuck to your socks.

When doing laundry, you search all pockets for hidden Seed-Snitching scores, instead of money.

You search the garbage for that pocket hankie that may have contained some seeds.

You don't know or care what it Is,

you Want to grow it - for the adventure.


You have seeds from the Mayflower.

(My housemate contributed this one. I thought it was a Joke about my problem - but he was serious - a collector made NPR!!)

OK FOLKS, fess up! Your Turn.

Comments (47)

  • pdxjules
    Original Author
    18 years ago

    LOL! I've wondered when that's going to happen to me. Thank goodness you weren't arrested!

    I have more.

    Also When...
    Your daily Veggie Harvest bin contains as many seeds as Summer Squash and tomatoes.

    You imagine how Thankful others will be - to recieve your odd Junk Mail envelopes - as gifts. (And they're full of dried-up vegetation and barely discernable chaff)

    You actually watch for the Letter-Carrier - so you can open the junk mail - and immediately put the old envelopes to use. Including all ugly ad-covered ones, and the reply envelopes.

    You think how lucky you are to actually remember the name of the prize stuff you just crammed into a Junk envelope. Well *maybe* you got it right. Your Keepers wind up being mainly the unlabelled ones. (The ones with hastily scrawled plant names are gifts)

    You scan the Harvest Forum and can't believe the people there aren't talking about the Bountiful Seed Harvest! Where are their proud pictures?! Am I missing something?!

    You actually take pictures of your seed masses - and post them online. You *know* somehow you are making a difference.

    You whisper a respectful Thank You! to brocolli plants that keep on producing both food AND seed without end. (And you can't possibly eat or plant any more...)

    You think it's cool when your neighbor throws his spent Fennel Plant over the fence. Hooray, MORE SEED!!

    You really only sweep the Kitchen Floor - when you want to collect remaining Seed for your scatter-sowing garden.

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    Ok. Next year, hopefully, is my first year of not buying plants, because I couldn't get the one's I wanted this year. I live in a 'Flyover' area so my resources are limited. I bought the best resource book I knew of, and I'm following their directions. I'm Midwestern and hot foods do not appeal to me. I garden mostly by the rules that I was taught by my grandmother in the back yard garden. I am a Master Gardener who learns something new about growing (and sometimes killing things) all the time, and tries to share it. This isn't a competition. I'm just trying to help. Peace. Blue Cat.
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    Fact is, the original question is "why do you SAVE seeds," not why you don't trade seeds. If you don't want to trade, don't. Who cares? Just don't talk down to those of us who enjoy trading and growing traded seed. ***** Bill, since I was the first here to say I don't trade seeds I'm going to attempt to answer you. First, I was in no way talking down to anyone, and you know me well enough to know that. The question indeed was why do you save seeds. And I discussed the various reasons as to why I did save seeds, and I saw nothing at all wrong in saying that I didn't trade seeds other than with three other SSE members. And yes, all the reasons you gave for dealing with wrong varieties are absolutely true. I think perhaps you've forgotten that there are many here, usually lurkers trying to learn, that really don't know how to ID wrong varieties. Over the years, and I started posting at AOL back in about 1989, long before you or Keith or Trudi or others did, I've seen post after post about that and it's primarily b'c they grow varieties without knowing what to expect as to plant habit, leaf form, fruit shape, size and color. So trading seeds for them I think introduces an additional risk factor that they may not be aware of. The other issue I've spoken to before and will here again, is that I like to see folks buy at least some of their seeds, b'c the sources with the most varieties to offer are also those small companies that are so very dependent on tomato seed sales. Finally, I may not trade seeds with lots of folks but what I have done is to offer seeds for close to 350 varieties here and elsewhere. And you'll remember that each time I make a point of saying that I cannot vouch for absolute seed purity. I say the same thing for my SSE listings. If I process 20 fruits of variety X for seed and only one of them has been X pollinated, those F1 hybrid seeds may take a very long time to show up in someones garden. There are varieties that I thought were pure that subsequently were shown to have a few F1 seeds. So I am not talking down to anyone who trades seeds, but I do feel that there's nothing wrong with pointing out the possible pitfalls of doing so, especially for folks new to the game. Several who have posted in this thread will often look forward to wrong stuff b'c sometimes the wrong stuff turns out to be good stuff, but not all who read and post here would feel at all comfortable doing that, Carolyn
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  • pdxjules
    Original Author
    18 years ago

    OMG, I've got more.

    When others admire a stunning array of flowers,
    you are thinking: My, What Fine Seed Pods!

    When you save all your spent dahlia blooms thinking: gosh these might germinate.

    When a friend keeps clippers and some nice gloves by their front door - just for your visits.

    When friends name you The Phantom Pruner!
    and similiar stealth names for _secretly helping_ strangers to dead-head their spent flowers and shrubs.

  • Florazone9
    18 years ago

    When you actually have a set date with a garden friend on a bi-weekly basis to scout for seeds in every garden store and I'm not talking off the rack.

    purchase an ugly plant just because it was the moistest pot in the nursery and you forgot your baggies so now you have put seeds of Lord knows what in every 1/2 inch of space. And since you buried the treasure now you must buy the chest.

  • pam_aa
    18 years ago

    Always on the lookout for that perfect seed storing container.

  • pdxjules
    Original Author
    18 years ago

    ...When you empty all the teabags out of their box so you can stuff some grubby seed envelopes in there instead.

    ...When a BF who buys himself a bouquet of flowers every week - only offers you only the dead or dying bunches from previous weeks. And you think, Gee, how Thoughtful.

  • trudi_d
    18 years ago

    I have billions and billions of seeds. In here. At hand.

    There is that many, if not far more than that, outside and ready to come in. I NEED an intern.

  • fluffygrue
    18 years ago


    ..when you giggle knowingly at the above-mentioned signs.


  • jacks_girl
    18 years ago

    being a newbie at seed collecting...I've had DH setting mouse traps trying to catch the little bugger who has been leaving this "turds" everywhere. "So sorry DH, didn't realize seeds tend to follow you everywhere! Nevermind"
    Maggie :)

  • garden_witch
    18 years ago

    *Your favorite flowers are dead ones

    *You have a stash of small paper bags, scissors, and pens in your glove box

    *You pick seed pods out of the trash at work (yea! more petunias!)

    *Your co-workers bring you storage containers, save coffee grounds for your compost pile for you, and ask "can you use this?" on a regular basis

    *Your co-workers come to you for seed saving/starting advice

    *You have enough seeds to plant your entire neighborhood ten times over, or more

    *You have dedicated your spare time (spare time? what's that?) to SASE-ing your seeds

    *You haven't thrown away a shoe box in the last three years

    *You haven't thrown away a plastic bag in the last three years

    *While cleaning DH's desk, you look over at yours and just sigh

    *You have maxed out the space on your hard drive with designs for seed labels, printable seed packets, pictures of seedlings, pictures of seed pods, seed inventories, and data sheets on seed starting experiments

    *You have at least one arguement per week on your seed saving "habit" with your "significant other"

    *At the grocery store, you pick produce like kids pick cereal, for the prizes inside!

  • raehelen
    18 years ago

    ~ The second best thing about finally buying the sleigh bed you've wanted for twenty years is the bubble wrap it's wrapped in!

    ~ You dumpster dive cuz you just saw a store clerk dump a box of tiny zip-locked bubble wrap bags! What a treasure!

    ~ You have to post a sign politely requesting that passer-bys do NOT help themselves to your beautiful poppy seed pods!

    ~ Your family knows better than to use any of your assorted strainers to drain the grapes!

    ~ You find yourself thanking the bill senders who don't use envelopes with clear plastic windows, and say a little prayer for each reply envelope included!

    ~ Any junk mail envelope deeper than 4" is considered a huge treat!

    ~ You curse those idiots who don't know better than to construct airtight (ie no little openings) envelopes and paper bags!

  • pdxjules
    Original Author
    18 years ago

    Oh, you guyz have got it - good!
    I'm not the only one. Thanx for the laffs -
    and TIPS!! Keep 'em coming...

    Winter-Sowers will be looking in here soon,
    and they'll appreciate our, um, guidance.

    garden-witch: if your guy is superstitious, maybe mention the ancient Judaic teachings about laying up provisions, etc. Stuff like that...


    One humungous Bonus Mystery Seed pak goes to the person who can explain the context of the Old Testament saying that warns against wasting one's _SEED_ by not _tossing_ it against a Wall. (I already know - but thot it could lead to some VERY funny answers!) You could tell your BF that is a command - and hope he never learns the REAL context!

    OK, I admit it. Squirrels hate me, I'm a nutcase.
    (Thank goodness in THIS company - that term has positive connotations...)

  • brighteyes
    18 years ago

    pdxjules - ok, i think i know this im usually in another forum but i couldnt resist

    Now lets see if i can get this out without gettin censored :0

    If i remember correctly it goes somewhere along the lines of male self "fullfillment" and it was better to "cast your seed" into a whore than tossing it against the wall because you cannot create another human with "self fullfillment" if you toss it against a wall you are wasting your "seed".

    Now 2 questions: Did i get it right and Did i get that clean enough?


  • garden_witch
    18 years ago

    lol =) Can a phrase be clean if you use the "W" word? hehehe

    I've got one more...

    ...When you swiffer the floor, you could cut the used pad into strips for seed tape!


  • bears15ne
    18 years ago

    When you have your 6 & 8 yr old grand daughters watching for dead heads outside businesses. Trying to find that perfect one gramma might not have yet.

    who is going to yell at 2 lit'l girls for dead heading right???

  • romando
    18 years ago

    I am horrified. Horrified that there is more than one me out there. That I have competition! lol
    These made me feel all tingly inside:
    *At the grocery store, you pick produce like kids pick cereal, for the prizes inside!
    *You have at least one arguement per week on your seed saving "habit" with your "significant other" my heart goes pitter romantic!
    *You actually watch for the Letter-Carrier - so you can open the junk mail - and immediately put the old envelopes to use. Including all ugly ad-covered ones, and the reply envelopes* Recycle! Saving the planet! (and plants)
    *scout for seeds in every garden store and I'm not talking off the rack* What glee!

    My neigborhood Target is a weekly Monday morning ritual for me; one stop shopping! I first go to the on-site Starbucks counter for a pick-me-up (and huge stack of napkins...) then go out to the garden center and 'fill 'er up' (napkin, that is...)

    But yesterday, as I began my long drive home from mom's house (we went to an african violet show...) I went through Taco Bell drive thru and actually bought nachos (how in the &$*@ am I gonna drive and eat nachos?) because (yikes) THE CHEESE CUP HAD A SNAP ON LID.

    I don't even like their nachos...

    Amanda 'romando'

  • akheadbanger
    18 years ago

    When you grow Venus flytrap's and other CP's for their seed's

  • mora
    18 years ago

    When you visit your Mom's garden to get seeds from her fantastic huge yellow iris and she says "why don't you just dig up a patch dear" and your heart just falls! I don't want it to be that easy! M

  • Tomato_Worm59
    18 years ago

    And I thought I was the only one who welcomed junk mail for not only the sent envelope, but the bonus return ones, too! Gee, Pdxjules, I'm guily of everything you mentioned, including being seen at public parks collecting seeds. Nobody called the police, seeing how I was only collecting dead stuff, LOL!

    Now one nobody's mentioned, is going to Wal Mart and filling the cart with a large stack of 20 or so "shoebox" or 6 qt plastic containers. I'd rather use more of the single-layer envelope-sized containers than fewer big, deep ones.

  • akheadbanger
    18 years ago

    You eat out at fastfood places, and other resturants and ask for a to go box and fill up a room for them

  • garden_witch
    18 years ago

    You step outside to "just see how DH is doing getting the truck fixed" and come back in a half hour later with both hands full of various pods =)

  • chervil2
    18 years ago

    ...Your husband buys you a refrigerator for chilling wine and you find that there is additional space to refrigerate save seeds from skunk cabbage, Aesculus parviflora, Asamina triloba, etc.
    ...The guest bedroom is converted into a seed drying facility
    ...Every trip to the garden results in a handful of seed being collected
    ...Excitement arises when vegetables such as zucchini and cucumbers are too mature to harvest for eating since now you can save them for seed.
    ...You share stories of how you save and mail seeds to gardening nuts all over the world just like yourself.

  • kerai
    18 years ago

    .. when you read these postings and feel good that there are others like you

  • EvaEva
    18 years ago

    What joy! I am not alone! I don't have to feel like an outcast when I:

    *Have a stash of coffee/seed tins in the garage that takes up more room than the car

    *can't reach into a pocket in any pants I own (even the washed ones) without encountering a wayward seed or two

    *ACTUALLY AND SUCCESSFULLY have used dryer lint as seed tape

    Oh my god! People like me!

  • ljrmiller
    18 years ago

    Uh-oh...I just hit the first warning signs of being a Seed-Saving Nutcase. Okay, so I did save the seeds from my poppies. But I actually PLANNED to do that.

    The first inkling that I may be in deep trouble came Saturday, when, while visiting Auburn, CA, I walked by a Moraea of some kind and noticed seed pods full of glistening black seeds. I had to snag a fistful of seeds. And worse still, I'll start them!


  • wanna_run_faster
    18 years ago

    Sorry to say...I am NOT a seed saving nut! I'm a seed growing NUT. When I get seeds, I can't wait to research what type they are, where they'll go,the best way to germinate, how long it takes to germinate, etc, etc. When I have a bunch of seeds that have to be cold stratified, I find my self ordering some tropical seeds; then when I'm waiting on the tropicals (which always seem to take a while), I'm germinating some annuals to fill in the time.

    Thank goodness for the generosity of fellow GW'ers who keep me going and have turned me on to hundreds of plants I would have never even known existed before!

  • ljrmiller
    18 years ago

    I'm very proud of myself. While tidying up the garden a little yesterday, I didn't feel compelled to bring in any seeds. I did, however, whack any seed heads I cut all over the ground...

  • Nalani
    18 years ago

    ........Ok I have 5 kids ages 17, 13, 10, 6, and 4. now I know its pretty bad when where ever we go they are collecting various seeds for me and the funny thing all of them know where the seeds are and they know when to collect them. They are even quiet about it and wisper hear mommy look what I got for you. Sometimes it almost makes me feel guilty. The scary thing is when we are at school or in a public place and they go and tear off rose hips to give them to me in front of people. That gets me sweating them I have to say quietly didn't I tell you not to do that when people are looking. I am thankful no one had called the cops on me.
    I can see it now "The SEED Bandit"
    Now this is only about seeds, Cuttings are a whole different topic. Or I should call them pieces of other plants they are not always cut off sometimes they are torn off.

  • dcwik
    18 years ago

    You guys are too funny! Iam still wiping tears away!
    All this time my husband had me convinced that I should
    get some help, something like "Seed Savers Anonymous", Ha.
    It's good to know there are others.
    I try to salvage everything from the store to, although I am embarrassed to say that I found some forgotton grapes in the fridge and thought "I'll just plant them" you never know! only to remember later, they were seedless, Ha.

  • Vancouverite
    18 years ago

    When the crack heads that break into your house when you are away think they have hit the motherload of drugs in my fridge in two full shelves of pill bottles and zip lock baggies only to find seeds by the thousands.

  • Loretta NJ Z6
    18 years ago

    Wow, some of you have thought of a few things I haven't tried yet.

    When your photo albums are full of seed packets instead of pictures...

    When your at a wedding and the other guests want to know what kind of plant is in the arrangement and you can tell them by looking at the seed pods...

    When you start looking through the frozen compost pile because you didn't save the coleus seeds this year and now you want them...

    That sometimes you have to look the other way because you still have bags of seeds you haven't cleaned from last year.

    You get yourself a little mini shed because you can't throw out any pots because you might need them. You might even pick pots out of the neighbors garbage in May when they aren't looking, or even sometimes when they are because you really hate poking holes into home made containers and hate the smell of burning plastic. Then your hands get all dry and rough because you keep bleaching the same old pots. Then your husband feels sorry for you because he thinks your hands are rough from all the cleaning you do all day. But really your house is a mess because you spent too much time cleaning seeds and packing envelopes.

  • pickwick
    18 years ago

    ...please visit your local library and bookstores to help "settle out" this theme and to help prioritize the seeds we care to propagate . I have a booklet published by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (#103;vol.40;No.1;May 1984)before me. In this booklet,there appears an article-'Raising Annual and Pereninial Plants from Seed'by Frances M. Miner;Curator of Instruction at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens for nearly thirty years.Worth a read...

  • dirtdiver
    18 years ago

    When you figure out that you have a mouse in the house (mostly because of the way the cat keeps staring at the space under the stove), your first thought is concern for your seed stash in the basement.

  • dianacazadora
    18 years ago

    When your main incentive to your morning walk is the seeds that are waiting for you...

  • pdxjules
    Original Author
    18 years ago

    boy you guys got me laughing, Thanx!

    You realize you haven't licked the problem...When it is finally Spring in Oregon, and you realize you get more excited about finding and sorting through boxes of crusty seed, than seeing the many plants that are blooming outside.


    (See also: Oregon Spring, and Oregon Spring, Part 2)

  • iang
    18 years ago

    Must agree with most of the foregoing behaviour patterns!
    When you go to the refrigerator and you find yet another container full of daylily/other seeds - you've just planted out all of those that hadn't made it into the ground from the previous two seasons - the beggars must be multiplying!
    When you try to convince your partner and friends that next season you will be doing very selective pollinating for far less seeds.
    When the season rolls around you blame the bees for the massive number of pods that set - funny how so many of the same pods have labels - clever little bees!
    When you exaggerate to others about how many seeds you've managed to collect.
    Both under-reporting and exaggeration are often characteristics of the addictive personality - there's certainly great scope for Seed Savers Anonymous
    Ian of Oz

  • birdz_n_beez
    18 years ago

    How about when you find yourself at a friend of a friends house and they want to walk you through their garden. You make sure to stay last in line so that the chances are good they aren't looking when you grab some seeds (or pods) and stuff them into your pockets (promising yourself that there will be fun in sorting them out later).

    Or when you have, say for example, an Echinacea head. What fun is there in just shaking the heads till all the seeds fall out? Rip those suckers apart carefully and slowly so that you don't miss any potential growers.

    When you have to move up from envelopes to empty mayo jars. Then when you look at the jar full you think...perhaps I have to many of those seeds, then immediately discard the thought becaue one never knows who might need some when planting time comes around.

  • pansysoup
    18 years ago

    Oh, you guys are just BABY addicts! Look forward to

    *keeping paper lunchbags (and Sharpies) on hand at all times for collecting. In the car, in your purse, at friends' houses.

    *give away any clothing to the Goodwill that doesn't have pockets.

    *carrying around a digital camera "just in case" someone comes by while you're harvesting. Quick, take a picture.
    They'll assume you're writing a book.

    *having several even better excuses in your head at all times in case someone asks you what you're doing hunched over in the weeds. "Doing research for the Forestry Service" has always seemed like a good one.

    *actually buying a Forestry green vest to wear (AND an orange one - they were on sale at Target) during serious seed expeditions.

    *always carrying at least one pair of pruners in your purse in case you have to "deadhead" something really fast.

    *cruising the half-price table at nurseries for trashed plants THAT HAVE SEED PODS!

    *looking down alleys for cool things hanging over the fence.

    *admiring vacant lots and abandoned buildings, and noting their addresses for future expeditions.

    We're just helping nature along a little, aren't we?

    Oh, mercy.

  • pdxjules
    Original Author
    17 years ago

    Oh, we are in the presence of a Master.

    I've taken alley routes too, in a classic over-the-back- fence survey and opportunity hike.

    You know you've risen to a new level of Seed-Saving Nutcasery WHEN....

    You urge people for years to ask you for seed, anytime, then worry they might want some of your _favorites_ when they finally agree to go thru all those boxes to try to take some off your hands.

    You are incredulous that it's not easier to find better photo's of seeds in various stages on the internet.

    You change your mind about how great the neighors were when they can't remember where they planted the box of Dahlia tubers you gave them 2 years ago.

    You smile when reading the notation on a mixed envelope full of seed, and think what a lovely garden visit that was...and such valuable plants.

    And you've planted none of the seed - for 3 years.

  • busylizzy
    17 years ago

    When a local gas station is giving away free seed packets with a fill up you ask for the left overs, then they say take em all and you do

    When you visit a friend in the fall, notice their daylilies have seed pods, you ask if they aren't going to use em you can

    When you swear that F1 hybrid seed you collected WILL grow true

  • debbieslatzer
    17 years ago

    Okay, I'm not the seed saver (my mother-in-law is), I am the seed sower. Sooo...

    When you have to explain to your seven year old son that the empty 2 liters and milk jugs are NOT trash and he is not allowed to throw them away.

  • maricybele
    16 years ago

    I thought this was you when I read this post! I am getting gardening cookoo too.

    You ask your neighbor for her leaves put in your composter.
    Anytime you cook with unique veggies/fruits you save the seeds to see what will happen. You actually look for unique foods with seeds to buy and save.

    You have a fermenting station at the kitchen counter and all the togo boxes that will do well for winter sewing are being saved.

    You look at your neighbors recycle bins for winter sowing container opportunities.

    You go through your neighbors grape arbor cuttings before they go into the recycling bin.

    If your neighbor doesn't harvest their organic fruit you ask if you can.

    You spend way too much time on seed exchange and round robin exchange pages.

  • bearstate
    16 years ago

    Who saves 'em? I plant 'em.

    But not just any seeds. The science project seeds.

    And propogating clippings too.

    If you don't have fantasies about going around your state playing Johnny Appleseed with all your different seeds, you just aint that big a NUTCASE.

  • sandy0225
    16 years ago

    When you go out and buy a new refrigerator just for your seed stash in the basement. And then won't let the kids put their cola in it because you're afrid they'll leave the door open....

    You don't cut the too-large okra off your plants, you let it go to seed then end up with so much Clemson Spineless okra pods that you provide the entire (Southern) family with seed!

  • king_o_seeds
    16 years ago

    Ok, I've got one

    1) When you start paying people to search their yards for seed heads.
    2) When you start using Sherlock Holmes's magnifiying
    glass to spot seed's on the lawn.
    3) And when you chop down a new christmas tree JUST to climb it and ty to find any produced seeds.

  • king_o_seeds
    16 years ago

    Wait, I've got another one. When you get a restraining order gainst your neighbor because he/she keeps finding you in their backyard with a flashlight and pruners.

  • ibartoo
    16 years ago

    When you terrify your child by shrieking with joy when he says" mom look what I brought for you" and it is a whole pocketfull of camellia seeds! Ah... i am teaching him well.....