Copra onion blossom: this F1 original seed, purchased/planted in 2007, is five generations removed from its hybrid origin. Does this make it a non-hybrid yet? It is a great yellow storage onion nonetheless for me.
With all the green pressure of seeding, growing and harvesting one’s own edibles, I will tell you it makes sense to go a step further. You should harvest your own seed.
My first true (read: overwhelming) harvests of 2012 happen concurrently with the first harvests of next year’s seeds. I allow, intentionally most of the time, lots of my spring veg to go to seed. Many are biennials and thus won’t seed until this, their second, spring, but most are simply live-and-die annuals hellbent on reproduction in this, their only, year of life. So I keep a store of paper lunch sacks handy and I snip off dried seedheads, marking the bags with a permanent marker as to what the heck they are, then I fold these bags to store in the basement for next (or maybe later this) year. Roots, lettuce, brassicas, spinach, alliums, herbs. Who needs a seed store when you have your own store?
The above is an example of inadvertent seed saving and seed starting. About a month ago I deadheaded some Russian kale (the red, toothy kind) and left the seedpod branches on the ground to pick up later. Well, it looks like I have my fall kale started already! whoops.
Also, the ridiculously hot temperatures have lifted (joy) but one of the casualties was the artichokes. The very thought of steaming them steamed me, so I let them flower. Beautiful relative of the thistle, huh?
My go-to guide for all seed saving adventures is Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth, et.al. There are other guides out there I am sure but this one is handily grouped by plant families and has relevant information about a plant’s suitability for growth in your particular area of the US. If you know of others, please leave them in the comments. Happy harvests!