Saving seeds from your own crops can help preserve the varieties that thrive in your garden, help your plants adapt to the local conditions by passing on positive traits and help ensure that you grow the biggest and best produce. It involves three simple steps.
- Selecting the seeds - choose the plants with the best growing flowers, fauna or vegetables depending on what outcome you desire as these are the traits the plant will pass on.
- Harvest them at the right time - this is after the plant has fruited and seeds have been produced. Make sure the fruit is mature. If it is too young the seeds won’t be mature enough to produce new plants.
- Store them properly until you are ready to sow them - store all seeds in a cool, dry place.
Make sure you are not taking seeds from hybrid plants. Hybrid plants do not naturally pollinate and while they were created to look good and produce well, they are man-made and their seeds are often sterile. Even if they happen to grow the plant will be weak and feeble. Only save seeds from open-pollinating varieties which are often called heirlooms.
Seeds can be collected from almost any plant but here are some of the easiest to start with in your garden.
Wait to harvest the pepper until it has turned its final shade of color (often yellow) or when it is starting to wrinkle on the plant. Pluck and remove the seeds. Place the seeds on a tray or paper towel to dry. Store in a dry, cool place.
Peas and Beans
Allow the pod to ripen on the plant until it starts to turn brown. Remove the pods from the plant and spread them out on a tray indoors to dry (at least 2 weeks) or pick the entire plant and hang upside down until the pods are dry. Hanging allows any remaining energy in the plant to go to the seeds. Store the dried pods as is or crack them open to release the seeds. Store in a cool, dry place.
Tomato seeds need to mimic the fruit rotting to fully mature. After the fruit has ripened on the plant, pick the tomato and scoop the insides into a jar of water. Let it sit for 5 days. Swirl and stir to separate the seeds. Discard any floating seeds as these will not come into fruition. Pour out the water, add clean water, stir and then take out any floating seeds. Repeat several times and then strain the seeds. Lay the them on a tray to try for several days to dry. Store in a cool dry place.
Try collecting seeds from your vegetable garden, flower garden and even from your herbs.