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How to Grow Your Own Seeds for Vegetables

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How to Grow Your Own Seeds for Vegetables

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Overview

Collecting seeds from this year's crop for next year's garden saves money. Some people prefer to grow their own seed for vegetables to ensure they grow the same varieties each year. Others want to know their seed hasn't been treated with chemicals, pesticides or radiation. Still others like the tradition of saving seed each year to plant the following year's garden, connecting each year's harvest to previous years.

Step 1

Select heirloom or non-hybrid varieties of vegetables for seed collection. Seeds saved from hybrid plants won't reproduce true to the parent plant. You could end up with varieties with undesirable qualities.

Step 2

Save seeds from the biggest, hardiest, healthiest plants. Seeds carry the traits of the parent plants, so focus on your best plants to continue those traits in next year's crop.

Step 3

Allow fruit to mature on the plant. For greens such as lettuce or collards, or herbs such as basil, allow the plant to "bolt" or send up a flower stalk. These flowers will eventually produce seeds.

Step 4

Pick the mature fruit and dry the seeds. Beans, peas, potatoes and corn can be set aside to dry. Cut open melons, tomatoes and peppers, squash and other fleshy fruit and separate the seeds from the rest of the plant and spread them out on newspaper to dry.

Step 5

Store the seeds in paper envelopes or glass jars in a cool, dry place. Plastic could cause moisture to form, rotting the seeds. Label the containers with the type of seed and the date collected.

Tips and Warnings

  • Keep your seeds away from extreme heat and dampness.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper envelopes or glass jars

References

  • University of Minnesota Extension: Saving Vegetable Seeds
  • University of Rhode Island: Saving Vegetable Seed

Who Can Help

  • Cornell Cooperative Extension: How to Save Vegetable Seed
Keywords: saving seeds, growing vegetables, vegetable seeds

About this Author

Cynthia James is the author of more than 40 novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from Modern Bride to Popular Mechanics. A graduate of Sam Houston State University, she has a degree in economics. Before turning to freelancing full time, James worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager.