How to Save Seeds for Planting


Seeds are tiny, genetic miracles with all the information needed to grow amazing works of garden art, in a tiny little package usually no bigger than the end of your finger. Saving them to plant the next growing season is a thrifty and satisfying way to enjoy your garden treasures in the year to come.

Step 1

Choose the plant you wish to collect seeds from. Different plants require various seed-collection methods, but a basic guideline for vegetables is to wait until the fruit reaches maturity before collecting seeds. Flower seeds can be collected after the flower bloom is spent.

Step 2

Pick ripe fruit and separate seeds from the flesh. Rinse and allow them to dry completely on paper towels. For tomatoes or other juicy fruited plants, drop the flesh into a cup of water and leave overnight. Viable seeds will sink to the bottom. Skim the pulp and carefully pour the seeds over a wire mesh or paper towel and allow to dry.

Step 3

Store seeds once fully dry in envelopes or sealed containers.

Step 4

Mark the packages with labels and date them. Seeds perform best when planted the year after they are gathered.

Step 5

Keep the containers in a cool, dry place free from insects. Refrigeration is the preferred method.

Tips and Warnings

  • Some hybrids and cultivars are patented, making them illegal to cultivate.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels
  • Mesh screen
  • Envelopes/containers


  • Colorado State University Extension, Saving Seeds
  • University of Illinois Extension, Homeowner's Column: Saving Seeds From Favorite Garden Plants
  • Oregon State University Extension, Collecting and Storing Seeds From Your Garden
Keywords: saving seeds, seed collection, storing seeds

About this Author

Desirae Roy began writing in 2009. After earning certification as an interpreter for the deaf, Roy earned a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from Eastern Washington University. Part of her general studies included a botany course leading to a passion for the natural world.