How to Collect Seeds From Vegetables

Overview

Collect seeds from your favorite vegetables so you can plant them the next growing season. Although germination rates decrease with age, when collected and stored properly seeds can last for several years. Most vegetables are available in numerous varieties that consist of varying traits and characteristics. When you find one that suits your growing needs and taste preferences, collecting its seeds will guarantee its availability the following planting season.

Saving Dry Seeds

Step 1

Allow bean and okra pods to stay on the plant until the pods turn brown and dry up. If wet weather threatens, pull up the plant that contains the pods and hang in a cool dry place to allow pods to dry completely. They are dry when you can hear the loose seeds inside when the pod is shaken. Drying time for seed pods will vary according environmental conditions and where seed pods are being stored.

Step 2

Break open seed pods over aluminum pie plate. Discard outer pod.

Step 3

Place collected seeds in a glass jar and write on a piece of paper or label the type of seeds and the date harvested for future reference.

Step 4

Place a lid on the jar and store in a cool dry place free from extreme temperatures.

Saving Wet Seeds

Step 1

Select mature vegetables to save seeds from by waiting until the end of the growing season to harvest. Choose healthy, ripe, mature fruit such as tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, pumpkin, watermelon and cantaloupe.

Step 2

Use a sharp knife to slice vegetable or fruit to reveal seeds; using the knife or a spoon, scoop or slice the fruit to remove seeds.

Step 3

Place seeds in a colander and run cool water over them. Use your hand to separate any flesh remaining on the seeds.

Step 4

Drain and place seeds in a single layer onto a sheet of wax paper to dry.

Step 5

Allow seeds to dry for several weeks. Keep in an area free of humidity, direct sun and heat.

Step 6

Remove any broken or discolored seeds and discard.

Step 7

Place collected seeds in a glass jar and write on a piece of paper or label the type of seeds and the date harvested.

Step 8

Place a lid on the jar and store in a cool dry place free from extreme temperatures.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass jar with lid
  • Colander
  • Wax paper
  • Pen
  • Paper or label
  • Sharp knife

References

  • Mother Earth News: Save Your Own Garden-Grown Vegetable Seed
  • Vegetable Seed Saving Handbook: Harvesting Your Seeds
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Saving Vegetable Seeds: Tomatoes, Peppers, Peas and Beans

Who Can Help

  • International Seed Saving Institute: Saving Seeds
Keywords: collect vegetable seeds, how collect seeds, saving vegetable seeds, storing vegetable seeds

About this Author

Patricia Hill is a freelance writer who contributes to several sites and organizations, including eHow, Associated Content, Break Studios and various private sectors. She also contributes to the online magazine, Orato.com.