Learn about the wonderful skill of seed saving. Over the last 100 years, we’ve lost about 75% of our vegetable varieties and the top 10 seed companies own 75% of all the seeds planted globally.


  • Self-pollination – fertilization in a single flower, usually true-to-type. Tomatoes, lettuce, beans, peas are examples
  • Cross-pollination – fertilization occurs between two flowers. Hybrids are common. Squash, zucchini, kale are examples
  • Perfect flowers – contains male and female parts, self-pollination is common
  • Imperfect flowers – single male flower and single female flower. Cross-pollination is required, hybrids are common
  • Hybrid – cross between two similar varieties. The next generation is unpredictable

Easiest vegetables to save:

They are self-pollinating and generally true-to-type.

Intermediate vegetables to save:

  • Cucurbits
    • Squash, pumpkin, melons, cucumbers, zucchini
    • Plant only one of each species to prevent crossing
      • Honeydew or cantaloupe
      • Pumpkin or zucchini or squash

Image result for pumpkin and zucchini cross pollination

  • Zucchini + Pumpkin = Zumpkin
    • They cross-pollinate easy by insects, so they must be hand-pollinated.
    • Find out how to hand pollinate squash here.


  • Carrot family
    • Beets, parsnips, carrot
  • Brassica family
    • Kale, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, chard…
    • Not self-seeding so they require pollen from other plants to be fertilized

Biennial plants that produce seeds in the second year so they must overwinter.

Brassicas also cross-fertilize with other varieties very easily.