How to Extract Seeds From Vegetable Plants


Home grown vegetables are a great way to save grocery money and enjoy fresh produce. Once you've started your first garden, you have everything you will need to produce a garden for many more years to come. You can use your vegetables and plants to harvest seeds for all you future garden endeavors. It's easy to harvest some vegetable seeds; however, others require more preparation. Here's how to harvest all the different kinds of seeds you'll find in your vegetable garden.

Step 1

Harvest seeds toward the end of the growing season. Let the peppers, tomatoes, squash and cucumbers you intend to get seeds from grow to maturity. Your peppers will turn yellow or red, and cucumbers will turn yellowish.

Step 2

Let all your bean and pea pods you want to collect seeds from dry on their vines.

Step 3

Harvest fully ripe vegetables, and slice them open to remove the seeds. Spoon seeds onto a cookie sheet. Put the tomato seeds in a glass and set them aside in a cool area for 2 days to ferment.

Step 4

Wash all you seeds thoroughly under running water. Wash your tomato seeds after two days. Pat your seeds dry with a towel, and lay them in one layer over the cookie sheet. Let them dry in a cool location for a week.

Step 5

Open you pea pods and beans to remove the seeds. These seeds are already dry and ready for storage.

Step 6

Plants like mustard and radish will flower and then begin to produce seed pods. Harvest the seed pods when they dry on the plant. Open the pods and remove the seeds for storage.

Step 7

Harvest spinach seeds after they have flowered and produced seed. Let the entire plant dry in your garden, and then remove the seeds by pushing them off with your thumb.

Step 8

Wait until the following season to get seeds from your broccoli, brussel sprouts, or cabbage plants. They will produce seeds after going through cold weather in their second year of growth. These plants will flower and produce seed pods. Remove the seed pods once they dry on the plant. Open the pods to release the seeds.

Step 9

Store all your seeds in glass containers. Label each container so you know what type of seed is being stored. Put the seeds in a cool place. They can be stored for a longer period in the freezer.

Things You'll Need

  • Spoon
  • Cookie sheet
  • Glass
  • Towel
  • Glass jars
  • Labels


  • Food Resource Bank: Seed Saving
Keywords: vegetable 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.