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27/10/2012 at 18:23


we have been dutifully collecting seeds (or what we think are seeds) from the plants during harvest. they've been left to dry out and we're in the process of putting the best ones in envelopes to plan next season.

we've got a bit stuck with beetroot and sweetcorn which we've never grown before and had varied success with this year.

here's 2 pictures of what we've collected. are they really seeds and what should we do with them?

also, what do i do with the beets when picked from the containers? the first few i picked didn't store well and went woody and dry. i had put them in a hessian sack.

all help would be very greatfully received

many thanks


27/10/2012 at 18:25


27/10/2012 at 19:14

Sweetcorn seeds are like- well- sweetcorn-not what you have there at all-but I am not sure if that is what you were asking?

27/10/2012 at 19:52

ah ok, so what do we have here? this grew from the top of the plants....

the mystery continues....

27/10/2012 at 19:56

The tassels?-I think most people just discard

27/10/2012 at 20:05

Could the tassels be the male part of the system. The cob is mosr definitely the seeds

27/10/2012 at 20:20

Did you get any corn cobs?

I'd not save seed from beetroot that had bolted (seeded in the first year) they're biennials that sometimes flower and seed in the first year but this is not advantageous and may be related to the woodiness you mention. It's not a trait you want to reproduce. I buy some more next year and look for the words 'bolt resistant' on the packet


27/10/2012 at 22:05

The tassels are definately the male part, needed for fertilisation. The female part is the cob, the seeds are the yellow niblets - which you leave to dry out. I would rather eat them and buy a new packet of seeds next year. You grow corn fairly close together in blocks, not long rows, so that the pollen from the tassels can fall onto the female bits.

It's best to buy beetroot seed. Beetroot can be stored in damp sand, but cut the leaves off to about 2 inches and they must be young. Old woody beetroot doesn't store well. The best way of storing beetroot is to cook them and freeze them.

28/10/2012 at 01:14

I think it would be a mistake to save sweetcorn seeds as they are probably a hybrid seed.  What you would get is a rather boring sweetcorn, when I presume you were trying to grow a 'super-sweet' one.

The photo you have at the top is the male tassel.  It hasn't been a good year for ripening corn, did you get any?

Beetroot seed will also, I suspect, be a hybrid and not at all what you would like to eat. Buy packets until you are more experienced, otherwise you will  waste your time, money and energy growing inferior vegetables.

28/10/2012 at 08:41

Good advice from Welshonion. The vast majority - or just about all - of domestic sweetcorn and beetroot are hybrid varieties that won't produce true to type. Bought seeds will last a good few years, stick with them for best results.

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