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Save the Seeds

By: Anni Jack, Adult Education Coordinator | 10/22/2021

If you caught the last blog post, you have read some ideas on saving your garden produce into the winter months and beyond.  Saving seeds is another form of garden preservation that helps you save your favorite plants for years to come.  Remember these questions to ask yourself in planning a garden great for preserving:

1. Are they easily preserved?

 

2. Are they cheaper and easily available just to purchase?

 

3.  Do you like them and will eat them and/or share them?

 

4. Are plants open-pollinated (like an heirloom variety) and not a hybrid?

 

What kind of plants have seeds that can be saved?  Open-pollinated plants will resemble the parent plant in fruit and seed. Hybrid plants grown from seed are not identical to the hybrid parents and will create a new combination of the parents’ traits. So, while hybrid plant seed babies are unpredictable, the DNA of open-pollinated plants will resemble the plant you love.

Harvesting Seeds

🌱 Make sure you take seeds from a variety of the same plant type.  This ensures a variety of genes and healthy future plants.

🌱 Some wet-fruited seeds are ripe when fruit is ripe, like tomatoes

1. Remove seeds with the gel goo and put them in a jar of water
2. Stir twice a day and on 5th day seeds will sink to the bottom
3. Place rinsed seeds on paper towel and dry completely

🌱 Some wet-fruited seeds need the plant to over-ripen without rotting, like peppers

1. Just remove seeds and dry completely after pepper becomes wrinkly

🌱Dry-fruited seeds need to dry on the plant (grains, lettuce, beans, etc)

1. Allow some of the fruit to stay on the plant until dry and seeds rattle    inside
2.  Remove seeds from pods after drying at least 2 weeks

Storage

🌱Seeds will need the optimum conditions to last for many years to come. 

1. Dry completely before storing
2. Store in cool, dark, and dry location
3. Air-tight glass container in a dark space make a great seed container
4. Envelopes are also a great option that block light and don’t trap moisture
5. Label with plant name, plant variety, harvest date, and any additional notes

There is a plethora of seed knowledge to be found such as at Seed Savers Exchange at www.seedsavers.org.  Joe Gardener at www.joegardener.comalso has a great website as well as charts to track your seed inventory and seed longevity.

Seed Inventory Chart

Seed Longevity Chart