Seed Saving Tips and Tricks
As much as we all hate to see summer go, fall is right around the corner, bringing plenty to do around your garden, greenhouse or fields. We want to help you be one step ahead when spring returns by sharing some great tips for saving seeds from this year’s harvest. By adding seed saving to your fall to-do list, you are not only saving yourself time next year, but money, too! Here are some great tips for making seed saving a fun and economical activity!
Choose the right plants
When deciding what seeds to save for next year’s garden, think of the circle of life. Certain plants will naturally drop their seeds into the ground where they would sprout up next season. Since these crops will do it on their own, these are the seeds you want to focus on saving.
Some ideal crops include tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and squash. It is important to note that only open-pollinated seeds will sprout the same crop season after season. Don’t save the seeds from your hybrid plants. Seeds from cross-pollinated crops aren’t guaranteed to grow well either. Make sure to save seeds from plants that are grown with plenty of space around them.
The perfect place to start
If you have never saved seeds before, this is the place to start. It is easy to know when the seeds are mature, because it happens right when the peppers change color. When you cut a ripe pepper open, you can easily scrape the seeds out and let them dry. You will know they are dry when you can break them instead of bend them.
Many other plants, like tomatoes and melons, require soaking, scraping and then drying, which is why we say peppers are great practice before you move on to tougher stuff.
Great storage leads to great plants
The best storage practices vary from plant to plant, but for the most part, seeds should be stored in airtight jars. Some seeds can be stored for only a year or two before use, while others, like melon seeds, will stay viable in storage for up to five years. Do your research to get the most out of the seeds you save.
Keeping the seeds dry while in storage will prolong their usable life. A good practice is to keep a little bag with a half cup of powdered milk and keep it underneath the seed packet in the jar. This will soak up any moisture. The jars should be kept in a cool, dry place and not opened until you are ready to plant. Don’t forget to label your container with date and variety so you know what you’re planting!
Seed saving takes a little practice at first, but once you have it down you will love knowing that you have seeds ready to go as soon as you’re ready to plant! Saving seeds from your favorite crops will help guarantee that you have great harvests year after year!
Do you save seeds? What varieties are your favorites?