How to save seeds

September 15, 2012
Author: Hannah

Seed saving is a cheap way of growing vegetables the following year, showing kids the lifecycle of plants, and is a nice thing to do ahead of a seed exchange.

Find out how to save seeds in this video, with help from Eden Project gardener Catherine Cutler. Or follow our instructions below.

How to save seeds

  1. Choose vegetables such as beans, peas, aubergines, peppers, squash or tomatoes and let a few specimens get really ripe on the plant – until they almost drop off. If you’re sharing a vegetable plot with others you may need to put a sign out saying ‘saving for seed’, so others don’t pick them.
  2. Once you’ve cut the vegetable in half to reveal the seeds, clean them thoroughly in water and pat them off with kitchen towel.
  3. With tomatoes it’s really important to remove the slimy coating on the seeds, which can stop them from germinating. You need to soak tomato seeds in water for a few days to get rid of this.
  4. Put your seeds in a warm, dry place, such as an airing cupboard, for a couple of weeks.
  5. Store your seeds in little plastic bags or film canisters, or envelopes (suitable for peas and beans), then label and date them. Put these in the fridge to stop them germinating before winter’s over.
  6. When spring comes, plant your seeds somewhere light and warm and give them plenty of water – and watch the whole cycle start again!

Why bother with seed saving?

  • You won’t need to buy seeds the following year.
  • It’s a great way to show kids the biology behind vegetables.
  • You’ll have lots to swap at a seed exchange.
  • You can help keep tasty, rare or heritage varieties alive.

Get more help with your gardening on one of our short courses which cover everything from autumn lawn care to citrus growing. They are available as either one-hour, half-day, or full-day courses.

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One response to How to save seeds

  1. seed saving says:

    Great Information and i would like to add my suggestion on how to save seeds.

    The plant you intend collecting seed from needs to be organic/ heirloom.

    Source your plants carefully. If it doesn’t specify being organic, it is likely to be hybrid. Don’t collect seed from hybrids as they will not grow true to type.

    Select healthy plants in the garden and label them “For seed collection” and leave them alone, don’t pick from them!

    Research the plant pollination of the plant. If it self-pollinates then it’s easy! But if it can cross-pollinate with a similar plant of the same family, then ensure you only grow one variety eg: cucurbits like pumpkin and butternut.

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