How to Harvest & Save Garden Seeds


Harvesting and saving your garden seeds for planting the following year or two not only saves you money, but can also become a family tradition. Many gardeners have a tradition of saving "heirloom" seeds, which are saved each year from a specific plant species and passed down through the generations. Harvesting and saving garden seeds is simple and requires few tools.

Step 1

Select your healthiest, highest-producing garden plants. Harvest seeds only from your best plants that are disease-free.

Step 2

Harvest mature seeds. The seeds are mature and ready for you to collect when their flowers have died.

Step 3

Remove the seeds from the pods when drying seeds from beans and peas. When harvesting seeds from plants such as peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, squash or watermelon, rinse and wash off the seeds before laying them out to dry.

Step 4

Place the harvested seeds on a tray lined with dry paper towels on your kitchen counter. Dry the seeds completely. Store the seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Step 5

Label the airtight containers. Plant your saved garden seeds one year after you've stored them. However, most properly stored seeds will last for two to three years.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid harvesting seeds from hybrid plants. The seeds will produce a variety of plants that will have different characteristics than the original plant. Before planting stored seeds, check for mold. Do not plant seeds that have formed mold or mildew.

Things You'll Need

  • Tray
  • Paper towels
  • Airtight container
  • Bowl of water (optional)


  • Mama's

Who Can Help

  • Kids Gardening
Keywords: harvest garden seeds, save store garden seeds, heirloom seeds

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.