Seeds are an under-ultilized part of our garden! There are significant savings in starting your own plants from home. Learning from our pal, Eryn Whalen, here are a few tips and tricks to saving your own seeds. And if you want to follow along with our video, find it here.
First, there’s a lot of information about what types of seed you can save that will be true to their parentage. For more on Eryn’s tips on this topic, visit her website. But for simplicity’s sake, if you want to save a seed that will be the same as what you grew the previous year, choose heirloom seeds for saving. You can save seed year to year and get the same plant each time.
If you’re living next to a commercial seed farmer, please be a good neighbor and ensure that your plants don’t cross-pollinate with theirs. This is especially important for brassica plants (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts, etc.).
If you are storing flower seeds, wait until the plant has “died” and pick the dried heads with the seed pods intact. You can also pick the flower when the seed pods have formed and dry them. Then, gently pull the seeds from the flower head and place them on a cookie sheet or flat surface to allow them to dry a little more. Then place the seeds in a paper packet and label them (seeds need airflow, so don’t use a plastic baggie or container).
Squash, melons, and gourds are easy too! Simply remove the seeds from the fruit, and using a colander, clean the seeds. Dry them with a paper towel, and then set in a sunny location for roughly two weeks. Once they’re dry, place the seeds in a paper packet and label them.
Seeds do best when they are kept in a cool, dark, and dry location.