No simple answers... it depends... have a look at www.seedsavers.org, and
if you're serious, get Suzanne Ashworth's "Seed to Seed" for much more
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at www.albany.net/~gwoods
Zone 5/6 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
If these are hybrid plants, the seeds coming from this year's plants
might lose their hybrid characteristics.
Generally you select the best, healthiest plant, and let the fruit of
that plant mature fully before harvesting seed from it. I think some
people pull off other fruit (depending on the type of veggie) to force
all the energy and growth into that particular plant that is to be used
for seed. Then, of course, the seeds have to be thoroughly dry for
storage and some, or maybe most seeds, have to go through a dormancy
period in cooler or cold temperatures before they are started the next
season. Some plants, like beans, are easy to see when they are ready
because the pod turns a tan color and is crisp or brittle and the seeds
inside are nice and hard. Tomato seeds are squeezed out of ripe fruit
and the the resulting pulp containing the seeds allowed to ferment to
remove the slimy coating from the seeds. Of course pumpkins and squash
and cucumbers have a pretty massive pulp around the seeds that has to be
removed completely, then the seeds allowed to dry thoroughly before storing.
Beets, carrots, and celery won't produce seeds because they require more
than one year to produce seeds. Onions planted from seed will not
produce seed the first year, but onion bulbs will because those are
actually two year old plants and they produce seeds the second year.
All seeds have to be absolutely dry the entire time they are in storage.
You might be able to use a refrigerator or freezer for the
There are books about how to save seeds. Maybe your local library can
locate a copy for you.
This is really hard to determine, as you haven't mentioned where you
purchased the seeds from or what type of seeds they are. Generally unless
the plant is marked a 'heirloom variety' or you purchased the seeds off a
reputable seed supplier, I would advise ' don't waste your time' Though in
saying this I have saved lettuce and pumpkin seeds from yates packets that I
still grow in my garden 5 years later.
Also some seeds are more difficult to save than others, due to a number of
reasons. ie cross pollunation etc.
I own a book titled 'seeds savers handbook' by Michael & Jude Fanton found
at www.seedsavers.net , which I find invaluable for seed saving (an
australian site) and I buy seeds i want to save from www.diggers.com.au
(again Australian site) Seeds such as corn are impossible to save, don't
even try, and this list could go on with different processes in saving
seeds. A good rule of thumb is : most vegetable seeds are fairly easy to
germinate and save if the plant is not a hybrid, but with flowers and
perinnials saving and germination can be become 'tricky'. ie stratification
may be required etc.
In my experience only greens warrant saving seeds (because you need
lots) plus of course garlic and onions - or if you think you can no
longer get seeds for the veggie you are growing. And of course you can
save only heirloom seeds, no hybrids. I suppose you could consider
saving parsnip seeds because they expire so quickly.
A $2.50 tomato heirloom seed packet lasts me ten years (in the
freezer), and I grow 30 plants. I usually let mache, arugula, and
tatsoi reseed freely in my garden which is a sort of labor-free seed
saving (the patch can get messy, but the proper technique is to hoe
right after their seeds have matured. They are usually the first to
seed, having overwintered under cover, so it works). They provide two
crops a year that way, and if you are willing to relocate some seeds,
also ground covering under taller plants (and a few free salads). I
used to let mustard greens do that, but they were so rampant I
discontinued the practice. I have in the past used chicory and mache
seeds (which are tough little plants with strong root systems) to
"prime" a bare patch of clay in my lawn. I am happy I have my seed
saving technique down pat, but hear me, unless you are willing to work
at pennies per hour, seed is cheap.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.