Save Seeds for Future Growing Seasons
Saving seeds is a cornerstone of sustainable, organic gardening. Storing seeds is a fairly simple task that ensures we have seeds for next year’s crop. The aim is to separate the seeds from the fruit or flower heads and dry them. Seeds can’t sprout without water, so keeping seeds dry is very important for saving them.
Which seeds can you harvest and store for next year? Practically any flower or vegetable is fair game. For the best results stick with heirloom or open-pollinated plants because they breed true. That means the flower or fruit seeds from this type of plant will produce plants that resemble the parent that the flower or fruit came from. The seeds from hybrid plants often produce plants with characteristics different from the parents, which may or may not be desirable.
By collecting and keeping seeds you can ensure that crops can be grown for the next year or so. Seeds last for up to a few years, depending on the plant type and storage conditions.
Materials for Saving Seeds
Here’s a list of items we use for collecting and keeping seeds:
- harvested fruit or flowers
- knife to cut away fruit
- paper towel to lay wet seeds on
- scissors or pruners to cut herb or flower stems
- string or twine to tie stems for hanging
- colander to separate small seeds from dry chaff
- seed envelopes to put dry seeds in
- pen to write type of seed and date
Certain seeds need special care before they will germinate. But how do you know what seeds need special care? Check these resources for specific instructions for saving herbs and vegetable seeds.
Specific Seed Saving Instructions
- Seed Savers Exchange — herbs and vegetables
- How to Save Seeds — vegetables
Read about cold stratification for seeds of perennials.