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Self Sufficiency

The Art of Seed Saving

I recently learned about seed saving via a Kickstarter trailer for a documentary entitled, Seeds: The Untold Story. What is seed saving, you say? It’s exactly what it sounds like! It is the process of saving seeds for future harvests, a process that has been done for over ten thousands years.

The seed saving practice has been especially crucial in recent years while many plants have increasingly become endangered. In the last century, 94% of seed varieties have been lost. Hard to believe, right? Industrial agriculture following the industrial revolution has played a big role in the demise of this wonderful art.

Check out this trailer for “Seeds: The Untold Story” to learn more about this lost art:

Just like the trailer mentions above, corporate greed in industrial agriculture has created a monopoly over seeds. Corporations prefer crops that ripen all at once, such as hybrid plants, whereas heritage plants ripen unevenly are purer.


How to Start Saving Seeds

The process of seed saving can be very simple, as long as you know your plants. Some common edibles may appear very different when they flower and then go to seed. Leaves change shape; stalks shoot skyward or downward; flowers contrast with leaves. As you become comfortable with recognizing a plant’s colors, shapes and sizes, you can start mixing varieties.

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To begin saving seeds, you must also become familiar with the life cycle of each plant, as well as how it is pollinated:

Self-Pollinated Plants

The pollination process occurs within each flower, and is not transferred from one flower to another, either on the same plant or between plants.

Cross-Pollinated Plants

The wind or an insect carries the pollen and fertilizes one flower to another flower, either on the same or another plant.


An annual plant completes its life cycle, from germination to the production of seed, within one year, and then dies, such as lettuce and tomatoes.

Lettuce produces hundreds of small yellow flowers atop its stalk, the site of feathery little seeds. The seeds are similar to dandelion seeds, having a tiny parachute perfect for riding the wind. The plants can be tipped into a container and shaken to release the seeds.

Tomatoes should be picked when they are really ripe to prevent bacteria from persisting through the seed. In the bottom of a bucket, mush the tomatoes and squish from the pulp as many seeds as possible. Add water, place the lid on the bucket and let ferment for about three days. Hose back into the bucket whatever seeds are still attached to the tomato meat and discard the pulp. The pulp floats but the seeds do not. After the tomato pieces have been rinsed, pause for a few seconds as the last of the seeds sink to the bottom. Pour the liquid out of the bucket and you will find the tomato seeds at the bottom. Pour clean water over the seeds and onto a mesh screen to collect the seeds. Dry!


A biennial plant is harvested as food in their first summer or fall, and do not produce seed until the following year, such as carrots and beats.

Carrots are cross-pollinated by insects and can be harvested in the fall. They often cross with Queen Anne’s Lace, so keep it clipped so as not to flower at the same time as the carrot. The flower head on the carrot, or seed umbel, matures unevenly, and is best to harvest when secondary heads have ripe brown seed. This is usually around September of the second year. Heads can be removed as they mature or entire stalks can be cut and cured for a few weeks. Rub off seeds when completely dry and use a screen to remove the chaff.

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Beets are cross-pollinated by the wind. Therefore, it is best to raise seed of only one variety each year. In summer, when plants are dry, brown mature seeds are easily stripped by hand from the branches. Beet seeds are actually seed balls, containing up to six seeds each.


Perennial plants both live and bear seed every year. Generally, the top portion of the plant dies in the fall and winter and regrows in the Spring from the same root system. These are typically flowers you will find in your garden. Most of these flowers are cross-pollinated by insects. If you wish to preserve the purity of a certain plant for seed saving, grow only one variety at a time.

(See more about plant types and harvesting tips at Seed Sanctuary)


Tips to Harvesting Seeds

  • After harvesting, allow the seeds to dry for a few more days. The larger the seed, the longer the drying period.
  • Spread seeds on plates, screens, wax paper, or newspaper in a breezy place for a few days. They should be rotated and spread out during that time.
  • You may dry the seeds in a sun-exposed room, in a non-humid greenhouse or in the sun outside if they are covered or brought in at night to expedite drying.
  • Seed should always be stored in cool, dry conditions.
  • Temperatures below freezing will not harm seeds if they have been adequately dried. You may also store them in the freezer to prolong their lives.
  • Sealing most seeds from air, except for beans and peas which need air circulation, also prolongs the life of the seed.
  • Store seeds in airtight tins, glass jars or plastic containers that can be closed to make them moisture proof.

Seed saving not only eases the weight of living off the land, but allows us to take part in the circle of life. You can download a free expert guide to seed saving at A Way to Garden to get started seed saving.

Originally posted on June 10, 2014 @ 2:09 PM



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Self Sufficiency

NYC Adds Nearly 4,000 People Who Never Tested Positive To Coronavirus Death Tolls

New York City added nearly 4,000 people who never tested positive for the coronavirus to its death toll Tuesday, bringing coronavirus-related deaths in the city to around 10,000 people.

The city decided to add 3,700 people to its death tolls, who they “presumed” to have died from the virus, according to a report from The New York Times. The additions increased the death toll in the U.S. by 17%, according to the Times report, and included people who were suffering from symptoms of the virus, such as intense coughing and a fever.

The report stated that Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decided over the weekend to change the way the city is counting deaths.

“In the heat of battle, our primary focus has been on saving lives,” de Blasio press secretary Freddi Goldstein told the Times.“As soon as the issue was raised, the mayor immediately moved to release the data.”

The post New York City added nearly 4,000 people who never tested positive for the coronavirus to its death toll appeared first on Daily Caller

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Self Sufficiency

How To Make Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar

The thing about homesteading is you get to create your own ingredient right from scratch! Cheese, yogurt, butter and now sauerkraut, a delightfully sour and crunchy ingredient you can use on your meals — or consume by itself — while on a homestead, or while facing this health crisis!

This homemade sauerkraut is a great meal because it has a long shelf life. You can either make plain sauerkraut or mix it with herbs and spices. In this tutorial let us make Lacto-fermented sauerkraut that preserves all the good probiotics in a jar, good for your guts.

So how to make sauerkraut in a mason jar?

RELATED: How To Make Buttermilk On Your Homestead

Delicious Sauerkraut Recipe Every Homesteader Should Know

Why Make Sauerkraut?


Not only does sauerkraut spoil a long time, but it is also a meal in itself, and it is also easy to make! You don’t need to be an expert cook, all you need to do is follow these simple steps.

So let us get started. Here are the steps in making sauerkraut in a mason jar.


  • 1 head of cabbage or 2 1/2 lbs cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon of salt

Tools Needed:

  • knife
  • bowl
  • mason jar
  • smaller jar
  • rubber band

Step 1: Wash & Clean the Tools & Ingredients

Wash all the equipment and utensils you need. Wash your hands too.

You don’t want to mix your sauerkraut with bad bacteria, anything that is going to make you sick.

Next, remove the faded leaves from your cabbage. Cut off the roots and the parts that don’t seem fresh.

Step 2: Cut the Cabbage Into Quarters & Slice Into Strips

Cut your cabbage into quarters and remove the core. Then, slice it into strips.

Step 3: Place in a Bowl & Sprinkle With Salt

Put the stripped cabbage into a bowl. Sprinkle the cabbage with 1 tablespoon of salt.

TIP: Use canning salt or sea salt. Iodized salt will make it taste different and may not ferment the cabbage.

RELATED: Homemade Yogurt Recipe

Step 4: Massage the Cabbage

Massage the cabbage for five minutes or more to get the juice out.

TIP: You’ll know it’s ready when you see a bit of juice at the bottom of the bowl and will look similar to coleslaw.

Step 5: Press Cabbage Into the Mason Jar

Add the cabbage to the mason jar gradually. Press it in hard to allow the juice to come out. Do this every time you add about a handful of cabbage.

IMPORTANT: Food should be covered by the liquid to promote fermentation. Add any excess liquid from the bowl to the jar.

Step 6: Press a Smaller Jar Into the Mason Jar

You want to squeeze every ounce of that juice from the cabbage. To do this place the mason jar in a bowl and get a smaller jar.

Fill it with water or marble to make it heavy. Press it into the bigger mason jar. Allow any juices to rise to the surface.

Step 7: Cover the Jars With Cloth & Tie With Rubber Band

Leave the small jar on. To keep your jars clean from annoying insects and irritating debris, cover your jars with a clean cloth. Then, use a rubber band to tie the cloth and the jars together, putting them in place.

Step 8: Set Aside & Check Daily

Set it aside in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight. Check the water level daily. It should always be above the cabbage.

Step 9: Taste Your Sauerkraut & Keep at Cool Temperatures

Homemade Sauerkraut Cumin Juniper | How To Make Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar

After about five days, you can taste your sauerkraut. If the taste is to your liking, tightly cover it with the lid and store in the fridge or cellar.

NOTE: If after five days it’s still not your desired taste, leave it for a few more days. This will allow the fermentation process to continue.

You can now enjoy your sauerkraut in a mason jar. Enjoy its goodness! You can use it as a side dish or mix it with your favorite sandwich.

Things to Remember in Making Sauerkraut

  • Store away from direct sunlight and drafts.
  • Colder weather will make the process longer. Spring is the best time to make them since the warmth helps activate the fermentation.
  • Always make sure that the cabbage is below the water level during the entire fermentation process.
  • If the water level decreases during the fermentation process, you can make a brine and add it.

Let us watch this video from Kristina Seleshanko on how to make delicious Lacto-fermented sauerkraut in a mason jar!

So there you have it! Making Lacto-fermented sauerkraut in a mason jar is as easy as slicing the cabbage into strips. Remember that as long it remains unopened, your sauerkraut can last for months. Best of all, you can partner this sauerkraut in many recipes.

What do you think of this homemade recipe? Share your best sauerkraut recipe in the comments section below!

Fellow homesteaders, do you want to help others learn from your journey by becoming one of our original contributors? Write for us!


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Self Sufficiency


Having plants in the house will bring peace to people. Having a little garden with vegetables is even better! You can grow these vegetables in your backyard garden easily as well!

RELATED: Microgreens Growing Guide

In this article:

  1. Tomato
  2. Eggplant
  3. Beet
  4. Spinach
  5. Pea
  6. Carrot
  7. Radish
  8. Cauliflower
  9. Asparagus

Growing veggies in your garden will give you an opportunity to understand what you eat and value it more. Early spring is when most vegetables are being planted. Keep reading to learn about 9 spring vegetables that anyone can grow in their garden!


Tomato is the most popular garden vegetable in the States! There are different varieties to choose from. Tomatoes need to be planted in early spring because they won’t survive a frost.

Because tomatoes are consumed daily, try adding them to your garden! They’re not difficult to grow either.


Eggplants are known to have low-calorie, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Plus, they are delicious! So why not plant them in your garden?

Eggplants shouldn’t be planted too early because they won’t be able to survive a frost. So you could consult an expert in your area before you plant your eggplants.


Beets are known to be a superfood for its various health benefits. They’re easier to grow in the garden, usually around late March or early April.

If the weather is always cool, beets will keep getting bigger and bigger. Once the weather starts to warm up, you’ll need to harvest them, or they’ll go to waste.


Spinach is a delicious early spring veggie, and it’s also very beneficial for health. And it’s not difficult to grow spinach in your garden!

Spinach needs cold weather to grow. Getting spinach to grow is easy, but keeping it growing will require some extra care.


Peas are usually planted in late April. Peas will die in freezing temperatures, but they also won’t survive the heat either. So make sure you plant your peas in early spring.

Peas are widely used in many different ways, and there are different types of peas. The soil you’ll be planting your peas should be suitable for them, so make sure you ask while buying seeds.


There are different types of carrots, but regardless of their size and color, it’s a fact that carrots are both delicious and rich in vitamins.

They’re root vegetables, so with proper sun and watering, they can be picked up as baby carrots as well.


A radish is an excellent option for beginners because it doesn’t require too much care. Radish is easy to harvest.

Radish grows fast, so it’s better to keep an eye on it after a few weeks. Radish usually is grown pest-free, but there’s always the chance of unwanted guests, so watch out for worms. Radish can be eaten raw or can be added to garnish recipes.


Cauliflower isn’t the easiest vegetable to grow at home, but it is very popular.

Cauliflower grows better in colder weather, so before you plant it, consider the climate of your garden. Cauliflower can be eaten raw or cooked, and it is known to be very beneficial for health.


Freshly picked, tender asparagus is very delicious!

Asparagus plants get more productive with each harvest, and mature asparagus harvest can last for months! Make sure you plant them at the correct time, or else they might go to waste.

All the vegetables listed above are great for your healthy diet, and it’s fun to watch them grow. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to grow your own veggies and eat healthy this spring!

So tell us which veggies will you be growing this spring? Tell us in the comments section!




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