How to Save Vegetable Seeds From Year to Year


Saving vegetable seeds from your homegrown plants saves you money and gives you the control of growing vegetables from your healthiest mother plants. Peppers and tomatoes both have wet seeds that are easy for beginners to harvest and store. When preparing to store seeds, make sure your mother plants are open-pollinated heirlooms and not hybrid varieties. The seeds from hybrid plants will not bear the same fruit as the mother plant.

Step 1

Pick your tomato, pepper or other vegetable when it is just fully ripe. Cut open the vegetable and scoop the seeds out onto a clean plate.

Step 2

Allow pepper seeds and other drier seeds to air dry on a plate until they are no longer supple.

Step 3

Place tomato seeds in a jar half full of water and loosely covered and set aside for two to three days. A fungus will form on the surface of the water that will eat away at the jelly-like substance surrounding your tomato seeds, according to the International Seed Saving Institute.

Step 4

Fill the jar with warm water and let settle for several minutes. Carefully pour out the liquid and debris. The viable seeds will have sunk to the bottom of the jar. Remove these seeds and allow to dry.

Step 5

Store dried seeds in labeled envelopes in a cool, dry location. If you plan to store your seeds for more than a year, place them in envelopes with silica gel to prevent moisture from damaging the seeds, advises ISS. Mother Earth News notes that a bit of powdered milk added to the seeds, is also an effective desiccant.

Tips and Warnings

  • Protect your stored seeds from any moisture exposure. Moisture will cause them to mold, rot or germinate, warns Mother Earth News.

Things You'll Need

  • Ripe vegetables
  • Clean plate
  • Jar
  • Envelopes
  • Silica gel


  • International Seed Saving Institute: Beginner
  • Mother Earth News: Save Your Own Garden-Grown Vegetable Seed
  • Northern Gardening: Saving Vegetable Seeds
Keywords: save vegetable seeds, harvesting vegetable seeds, vegetable seed storage

About this Author

Lydia Stephens began writing professionally in 2009. She has written online for Nile Guides, and various other Web sites and has been published in "Stringing Magazine" and "Xiamen Wave." Stephens played competitive soccer for 19 years, has been weight lifting since 2007 and enjoys running, biking and sailing. She has a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of Texas.