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.
Select your healthiest, highest-producing garden plants. Harvest seeds only from your best plants that are disease-free.
Harvest mature seeds. The seeds are mature and ready for you to collect when their flowers have died.
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.
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.
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.