How to save seeds - a 2016 update

Dec 07 2016 0 Comments Tags: garden, seeds

I love being able to keep seeds from the vegetables I grow.  Some people get upset when their plants bolt and go to seed, but I'm happy because it means I'll be able to save the seeds and sow some more.

Poor Man's Beans seeds that I've saved
I have saved seeds from beans, capsicums, lettuce, mustard greens, tomatoes, parsley, basil, broccoli and spring onions, as well as flower seeds.  I keep the seeds in little jars from my Damadi moisturiser and have a cupboard full of tiny jars.  I also keep the little sachets of desiccant that come with shoes and other products and drop one in each jar to keep the moisture out.

My seed cupboard is full of little jars of seeds
Drop in a sachet of desiccant to keep the moisture out
Saving seeds from most plants is easy, just let them flower and wait for the seed pods to form and dry out.  A few tips for some of the seeds that I regularly save:
  • Beans and peas - I just leave some large beans on the plant and wait until they're yellow and dried out.  
  • Tomatoes - best to ferment the seeds (that's why they do so well in the compost!). 
  • Capsicums - I just scrape out the seeds, let them dry on paper towel, and tip them into the jar.
  • Curcubits like pumpkin and melon -  also just scrape out the seeds and let them dry (only issue being that they can cross-pollinate over long distances, but that doesn't bother me).
  • Brassicas like broccoli and asian greens - wait until the seed pods have dried, then harvest the entire plant and pop the seeds out of each pod into a container, then pick out all the bits of pod, you will get hundreds of seeds!
  • Lettuce and herbs like parsley and dill - wait for the seed head to dry and then shake them into a container and store in a jar.
  • Silverbeet - this one takes FOREVER to grow the seeds and dry out, so just be patient, eventually you will be able to harvest the dry seeds, which are a very odd shape.
I have far too many seeds to ever use in time, so I give them away to neighbours and friends and at our local produce share.  I also scatter them around my garden and they tend to sprout at the right time, this is a concept from One Straw Revolution - letting nature do the gardening.  I also found a lot of good information about seed saving in Australia in the book Organic Vegetable Gardening (not an affiliate link).


Do you save seeds?  Any tips?


See below for affiliate links to some of my favourite gardening books:



      

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