It's almost time to save seeds from Omaha's Seed of the Year: the Schweizer Riesen or Swiss Giant Snow Pea! In the video, Alex walks you through a few ways you can go about saving your Swiss Giants. You can also read on for more details below.
Let the peas ripen and dry out on the plant. This should be about 4 weeks after the ideal eating stage. When the plant and pods turn brown and are dried out, pick the peas off, roll the pods between your hands, and the seeds should come right out!
Wet Weather Conditions:
If your seeds are fully ripe, but rainy weather or frost is in the forecast, you want to finish the drying process inside. Pull the plants up, root first, and hang them in a cool, dry location (basement, garage, etc) until the pods are brown and dry. When the pea pods are completely dry, break them open to release the seeds.
If you're in more of a rush, or don't have space to hang the plants, you can shell seeds from fully-ripened, green pods instead. This takes more time than shelling them from dry pods, but you should still be left with viable seeds. You just want to make sure they are air-dryed for closer to 8 weeks.
Cleaning and Drying Seeds
Separate your seeds from any remaining pieces of pods, vines, etc, also known as chaff. Place the seeds on a plate or in an open container as a single layer, and leave them out to air-dry in a cool, dry place for about 6 weeks. You don't want any moisture left in them, or they might not be viable for next year.
After your seeds are fully dry, they are ready to store until next season! We suggest placing them in an air-tight container and storing them in a cool and dry place until you are ready to use them. Don't forget to add a label! For labeling, at a minimum you can add their name and the year. But the more information included, the better! Below is how we suggest to label the seeds you save.
Common Name: Snow Pea
Scientific Name: Pisum sativum saccharatum
Variety: Swiss Giant or Schweizer Riesen
Year Packed: 2020!
Sow Outside: When soil temp is above 50 degrees
Germination Time: 7-14 days
Seed Spacing: Sow 1/2 - 1 inch depth, 2-3'' apart with 18''+ rows
Notes: Add what location you grew them in, whether you had grown any other pea varieties within 10-20 feet of these peas (the recommended isolation distance), and whether you noticed any pests or disease through their growing period.
We hope you enjoyed growing this Seed of the Year! Let us know how it went - did you have luck growing them? Were you able to get enough to save seeds? How'd you like the flavor or texture? We want to hear about your growing struggles and wins!
If you successfully saved some seeds, we hope you're able to donate some to the Seed Bank or Seed Share to share with others in 2021!