Using This Years Crops To Produce Free Food In 2021

The only benefit of lockdown 2020, was that I managed to spend some time putting together a garden set up, that would allow us to grow our own vegetables and fruit. As Summer passed and we slip into Autumn, it's been time to make use of the last few vegetables left on the plants, as we took them down. The last few beans, which we left to dry out on the plant, have had the beans removed and left to dry out, with the intention of using these beans as seeds for next years crops.

We let them dry for around 2 weeks and once completely dry, I've used my vacuum sealing machine to bag the seeds up into little packs, and as the vacuum sealer removes the air, it should keep them in a excellent condition and be perfect for planting in the Spring.

In late August we harvested all the corn we grew, (which was delicious), and kept back a few ears of corn, with the intention of drying them out and using the dried kernels of corn as seeds for next year.

I don't think I realised quite how long they would take to totally dry, as it took 2 months! I hung them up, to allow the air to circulate around them, to avoid them going mouldy, and then it was easy to pick the dried kernels off the cob. They need to be totally dry, and the easiest way to check if it's dry enough, is to take a kernel and hit it with a heavy object such as a rolling pin.

If it shatters into little pieces, then it's perfect, if it squishes, and oozes, then it's not ready!

The idea is to then store the seeds in an airtight container, ready for next year. Like the beans, I used my vacuum sealing machine to bag up the kernels and remove the air, to keep them in a good condition.

I hadn't really thought about how many seeds would be produced with this method... it's a lot, and so I may well have a lot of corn next year, assuming they do indeed germinate, and we can actually produce corn next year, from this years left over crops. If it works, then it's going to be a very frugal way to produce food, and potentially we would never need to buy seeds again, and can be very self sufficient!

I have, however, purchased some corn seeds, while they were on special offer, from Thompson & Morgan just in case, as it would be such a shame to not have a back up plan, and have no home grown corn next year!

The end result is a selection of seeds ready for next year. I appreciate that actually seeds aren't all that expensive to buy, but there is something quite special about being self sufficient and having everything you need to grow your own food, year after year, and all from an initial crop, without having to keep buying new seeds every growing season..

It's worth mentioning that I don't have a massive garden, in fact we don't even have a garden with soil on the floor! We live in a old Victorian military hat factory, which has been converted into 2 houses. Our garden is concrete, and so we have had to make planters to grow the food in. It shows that you don't a 'proper' garden to grow your own. You can grow fruit and vegetables on your patio, balcony, even on your window sill, anyone can grow something, it's very rewarding, both in the end result of home grown food, and it's also great for your mental health as well watching the plants grow and flourish!