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How To Save Seeds

Updated on October 8, 2013

How To Save Your Own Organic Seed

Saving seed is one way to both save money and ensure you get the varieties you like from year to year. Saving your own seed is a very rewarding and practical thing to do; this page will get you started with how to save seeds..

It is very satisfying to collect seed from vegetables, flowers, or herbs that you really enjoyed one year and grow them the next. Many types of seed are very easy to save, requiring simply collecting them, drying them and saving them in a cool dry place until they next spring.

As long as you are not growing two varieties of the same plant together, you will have pure seed. More on that later.

Your saved, dried seed is best stored in a jar or other air tight container, in a cold spot. The refridgerator is perfect. For some seed, the freezer is even better, but it must be well dried.

King of the Garden Bean for Seed
King of the Garden Bean for Seed

Seed Saving Basics

Many seeds may be saved simply by collecting them and drying them on a plate. Beans and peas fall into this category. The picture is a King of the Garden bean which is starting to dry on the plant. The pod is just tturning brown so its a good time to pick it for drying as the seeds will be fully formed.

Others are best dried on the plant, although you then run the risk of the seed falling to the ground before you get to it, or birds eating it. Lettuce, spinach, radish, and basil are all of that type. For these, once the plant flowers and you see seed pods, tie a little bag over the seed pod. Paper or cloth is best; plastic is not good - too damp inside and the seeds will rot.

Others need to be fermented to be viable the next year. To save tomato seeds, you squish the seeds and juice into a jar, let ferment for three days and if stuff is floating on the top it is ready to dry. You then add water and stir madly. This will make sure the seeds aren't sticking to tomato flesh. Pour off the top water and floating seeds. Floating seeds are dead seeds. Repeat as many times as you need until all you have in your jar is seed at the bottom and clear water. Strain it and dry it on a plate.

Most flowers can be saved by collecting the seed pods and then drying them.

I have covered a few types of plants but the best thing is to read up on each before you try to save the seed.

Our Seed Saving "GO TO" Book

Seed to Seed is the best single source for saving all types of vegetable seeds. It covers cross pollination, growing techniques, seed harvesting and viability. This is the one we started with.

Seed Purity

When you save seeds there is the risk that another variety may cross with the one you want to save. So if you really like one type of tomato and want to save it, the type next to it may have crossed without you knowing it. This may be fine, you could create your own variety. But if you want your variety to remain pure, you must worry about cross pollination. To avoid this you can choose to grow only one variety or you can create a barrier between the variety you want and all others. This can be done by putting a bag over the type you want and hand pollinating or by caging a group of plants. If you cage you must cover your cages in either screen or remay depending upon how that plant is pollinated –by wind or insects.

Book With More Plant Types to Save

This is a book to get if you have started with saving vegetable seeds and are branching out to other types of plants. A great resource. Covers a little of the bioligy involved.

Seed Envelopes

Once your seed is gathered, processed and dried these handy seed envelopes are just the thing. They have a sticky flap and come blank for you to add your own label or write on teh envelope itself.

Other Great Gardening Books

Seed Saving

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    • serenity4me lm profile image

      serenity4me lm 4 years ago

      I have experience with saving many different types of flower seeds, no experience with saving vegetable seeds. I like the book resources that you've provided. Great informative lens.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 5 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      very interesting read. thanks for the useful info.

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image

      Bellezza-Decor 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for the seed tips! I have stored some of my own in the past.

    • Inkhand profile image

      Inkhand 5 years ago

      I will try and saving my own seed next time. A nice lens.

    • Kevin Wilson 2 profile image

      Kevin Wilson 2 5 years ago

      Lovely Orca beans on your intro photo - they are so pretty.