How to Dry Vegetable Garden Seeds


The fall is a great time to begin collecting seeds from your garden harvest for next year's crop. The cost of seeds can add up when you are planting several vegetable varieties. However, by just removing the seeds from a few of your plants and vegetables this year, you can have enough seeds for a full harvest the following year and sometimes even for a few years to come. Once you harvest your seeds, know how to dry them so that you have viable and healthy seeds to store away.

Step 1

Choose what plants you would like to collect seeds from to grow later. Select the healthiest looking plant of each vegetable type. These are the plants you will select your seeds from.

Step 2

Pick fully ripened squash, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers or other similar fleshy vegetables from each of the plants you had selected. Choose the healthiest and plumpest of the vegetables. Remove the seeds from each vegetable by scooping them out with a spoon and then put them in separate jars.

Step 3

Add water to at least the halfway point of your jar. Don't worry if some of the gelatinous substance that surrounds the seeds is in the jar, too.

Step 4

Use your fingers to swirl the mixture each day. The vegetable seeds will fall to the bottom within a week. Drain the water from the seeds, and rinse them under running water well.

Step 5

Pat your seeds dry with a paper towel. Lay them out on a baking tray in one layer to dry for a week in a windowsill where there is plenty of ventilation. Be sure to keep each seed separate so that you can identify what vegetables they are.

Step 6

Remove seeds from pea and bean plants in your garden by waiting till the pods ripen and dry on the vine. Open each pod to remove the seeds. Dry them with your other seeds.

Step 7

Let a few of each of your variety of pepper plants stay on the vine until the vegetable ripens and begins to wrinkle. Remove the seeds by removing the crown of each pepper. Place your seeds with the others to dry.

Step 8

After a week, collect your seeds and bake them at 100 degrees F for 1 hour. This will dry your seeds so that they are viable for several years. Put them into separate small glass jars. Add a label to each jar to identify the vegetable. Put the jars in the freezer for long-term storage.

Things You'll Need

  • Vegetable garden
  • Spoon
  • Jars
  • Labels


  • Saving on Your Seed Bill
  • Kids Gardening: Saving Seeds
Keywords: garden seeds, harvesting, seed saving

About this Author

Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., Robin Coe has reported on a variety of subjects for more than 15 years. Coe has worked on environmental health and safety issues in communities across Ohio and Michigan. Coe holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with a double-major in international politics from Bowling Green State University. She has also received training and experience as a nurse aide.