Every year Joel finds that one or more of his favorite vegetables, ones that work really for us in this site, just aren't available as they have been dropped from commerce by the big seed growers. So a few years ago he started saving seed from some of our no longer available favorites. Doing this does require learning quite a bit about the plants habits, pollination needs, close relatives, etc. Above is a patch of Portuguese kale that Joel is trying to save seed from this year. Trouble is we grow a lot of brassicas and they will all cross with each other. So we have been going a round a couple of times a day picking all the flowers off all the other brassica plants, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.
Finally Joel decided that enough of the flowers had been pollinated to make an adequate amount of seed so he covered the flower heads with little mesh bags to keep the pollinators out of the flowers so that,
he can now concentrate on a seed crop of Kalibos cabbage, an interesting pointy headed purple cabbage. Now we can let these plants flower but still have to keep all the others pruned.
Joel shares seed with other like minded souls though the Seed Savers Exchange. Over the last several years he's grown seed from several lettuces, a variety of beets, and several wheat varieties.