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How To Harvest Vegetable Seeds For Beginners

With so many requests by email  asking me how to save vegetable seeds, please check out this easy tutorial explanation how the following v...

With so many requests by email asking me how to save vegetable seeds, please check out this easy tutorial explanation how the following vegetable seeds can be harvested over the winter to grow the following season...

Tomatoes


Saving tomato seeds is easy. Before eating, allow the fruits to ripen fully and scoop out all the seeds.

Rinse the seeds through a sieve (pictured right) to remove the gel stuff.

Or, if you're more patient, put the seeds and gelatinous liquid in a glass jar with some water. Stir the mixture twice a day. The mixture will ferment and the seeds should sink to the bottom within five days. Then, drain off the liquid, rinse the seeds and spread them out in a single layer to dry on paper towels for at least 7 days. Place in an air-tight container.


Peppers

Saving pepper seeds is even easier. Allow some fruits to stay on the plants until they become fully ripe and start to wrinkle (most bell peppers turn red when fully mature).

There are 2 methods: Wet and dry. The dry method is better for small amounts; cut the bottom of the pod and strip out the core of seeds (right). For large amounts use the wet method; cut off the stems and blend the peppers until the seeds separate and sink to the bottom. Compost the floating 'dead' seeds, drain the rest. For both methods, spread out the pepper seeds in one layer on paper towels and dry until the seeds are weak enough to snap if folded.


Beans + Peas

Save pea and bean seeds by allowing the pods to ripen on the plants until they’re dry and starting to turn brown, with the seeds rattling inside. This may be as long as a month (up to 6 weeks) after you would normally pick the peas or beans to eat. (Peas, right)

If there's frost, pull the entire plant with roots and hand in a dry location until the pods turn brown.

Then strip the bean pods from the plants and spread them out to dry indoors - at least 3 weeks before shelling. Once they're completely dried out, open the pods by hand or you can leave the seeds in the pods until planting time. (Beans, bottom)


Storage

Store seeds in tightly-sealed glass containers, opaque paper packets, air-tight containers or boxes. You can store different kinds of seeds, each in individual paper packets, together in a large container - check out the brilliant crafted seed storage box below by Club Scrap. Always keep seeds dry and cool, so don't leave them in your greenhouse like I once did!

Did you know? Your refrigerator can be a good place to store seeds.


Tips: Drop a small amount of silica-gel to each container to absorb moisture from the air and help keep the seeds dry, available at craft supply stores.

Be sure to label your saved seeds with their name, variety, and the date you collected them. It’s too easy to forget the details by the following spring.

+ More on Saving Vegetable Seeds from University of Minnesota
Main images + Garden Guides; Tomatoes; Peppers, Peas, Crafted seed storage

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