Long before you could run to the hardware store for new garden seed each season, farmers and vegetable growers saved seed from year to year to start their gardens. Farmers who saved seed put aside the best vegetables on the strongest, hardiest, most vigorous plants each year. In this way, farmers developed their own unique strain of vegetables that were ideally suited for their region. If you save seeds, you can develop your own vegetable strains in this way. The key is to process the seeds correctly before you store them.
Select heirloom vegetables to save seeds from. Hybrid vegetable seeds do not produce plants exactly like the parent plant they grew from.
Wait until the vegetables are slightly past the point of maturity to harvest the seeds. Seeds become mature when vegetables are past the point of maturity. For example, peppers will have wrinkled skin, and pea or bean plants will be at the verge of splitting open.
Pick the seeds out of the vegetables.
Wash the seeds thoroughly to remove any remaining pulp. Spread the seeds on a paper towel and allow them to dry.
Place the seeds in glass containers to store.
Put the glass containers in a refrigerator with the temperature set between 32 and 41 degrees. Add a small amount of silica gel to the container to absorb moisture.