How to Harvest Seeds From a Vegetable Garden


Fresh vegetables brimming with vitamins and flavor grace many gardeners' kitchen tables. Nothing can beat the sweetness of corn freshly picked from the stalk and served immediately after cooking. Fresh lettuce is crispier. Home-grown onions more pungent, and backyard tomatoes are juicier. Save money by harvesting seeds.

Veggies that are Fruits

Step 1

Determine if the vegetable is a fruit. This isn't as contradictory as it may seem. Fruits typically have seeds inside a fleshy casing, and fruits that are usually thought of as veggies include tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash and eggplant.

Step 2

Slice these "fruits" open. The seeds are found in the center of the veggies. Remove and place them on paper towels that you have labeled with a marker. This will help you keep track of the various seeds you may have harvested.

Step 3

Place the paper towels in an out-of-the-way location and allow the seeds to dry for a couple of days. Roll up the paper towel when the seeds are dry, and place them in a paper bag to store until planting time. If the seeds are stuck to the towel at planting time, tear off a piece of paper towel and plant both the paper and the seed.

Flowering Vegetables

Step 1

Wait for vegetables that flower to "set seed," or for seed pods to form from the flowers. Vegetables that set seed include lettuces, leafy greens, onions, garlic and root crops such as carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, and parsnips. Leafy greens, lettuces and such will bolt, which means they grow a stem of flowers.

Step 2

Pick the seed pod when the pods begin to look dry and the plant appears to be dying.

Step 3

Place the pods in labeled paper bags. Roll the top of the bag over and tape shut to store until planting time.

Corn, Beans and Peas

Step 1

Wait for corn, peas and beans to mature on the plant and begin to dry.

Step 2

Remove the cobs of corn, and extract the peas and beans from their pod.

Step 3

Store or place the whole corn cob and pea or bean pod in a paper bag, label and seal.

Tips and Warnings

  • Hybrid vegetables may not set seed that will reproduce exactly like the parent plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Vegetables
  • Vegetable plants
  • Knife
  • Shears
  • Paper towels
  • Pen/marker
  • Paper bag
  • Tape


  • "Great Ideas for Your Garden;" Courtier et al; 2003
  • "The Country Garden;" Charlie Ryrie; 2003

Who Can Help

  • Saving Vegetable Seeds
Keywords: collecting seeds from veggies, Collect vegetable seeds, harvest vegetable seeds

About this Author

Dee Power holds an MBA. She is the co-author of "Attracting Capital from Angels," "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital," "The Making of a Bestseller," the novel "Over Time," and several screenplays. She contributes to several Web sites and is a regular columnist for