The dos and don’ts
- Allow seeds to dry completely. This takes about a day. Place seeds on top of a newspaper so it soaks up all the moisture.
- The quick and simple way to collect seeds is to cover the flowers of plants with a brown paper bag to catch them. This will help keep the variety of the seed pure by keeping insects away so they don’t cross pollinate.
- Clean all seeds by removing loose matter as this may give pests a place to hide.
- Store seeds in an air tight container such as a mason jar and leave there until sowing time.
- Make sure to label the containers as some seeds look alike.
- Only use heirloom or open-pollinated seed varieties as these can be saved and used again.
- Swap seeds with other gardeners to share the bounty.
- Don’t collect seeds in the morning as there is too much moisture present from dew.
- Toss seeds from diseased plants or those that produced a small yield.
- Avoid buying hybrid seeds as they will only produce plants once.
Easy to save seeds
Peppers – Just scrape the seeds and let them dry. They’ll be ready when they break instead of bend.
Melons, squash, and watermelon – Cut them open and scoop out the seeds. Use a strainer and rinse. Then allow to dry.
Tomatoes – This one takes a little more time — you’ll have to ferment the seeds — but it’s just as easy. Cut the tomato in half and squeeze out the seeds. To ferment, cover in half as much water as there are seeds. Stir the mixture twice a day for up to three days. Mold will begin to grow on the top. When there’s a thick layer of mold and bubbles float to the top, add double the water and stir to stop fermentation. The good seeds will settle to the bottom and the bad ones will float. Add water and repeat until only the good seeds remain. Allow to dry completely.
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