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How to Dry Out Vegetable Seeds

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How to Dry Out Vegetable Seeds

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Overview

Saving vegetables seeds successfully requires they are prepared and stored properly until replanting. A dry vegetable seed is less prone to rot and mold during storage, and more likely to retain its ability to germinate. It is vital to ensure all seeds are dried prior to sealing them in an envelope or jar for storage. Many vegetable seeds, such as pepper, require minimal preparation as they are fairly dry when harvested. Others like pumpkin and tomato are wet when harvested, and more time must be spent drying them properly.

Step 1

Pick vegetables for seeds when they are completely ripe and at full color. Cut open the vegetable with sharp knife and scoop out the seeds.

Step 2

Place seeds that are surrounded in wet pulp or gel, such as tomatoes and pumpkin, in a bowl of warm tap water. Soak the seeds for two to three days or until the seeds settle to the bottom and the pulp rises to the top. Strain out the seeds and discard the pulp.

Step 3

Line a baking pan with a sheet of paper towels. Spread the seeds out in a single layer on the paper towels. Place the pans in a warm, dry room for the seeds to finish drying.

Step 4

Dry seeds for seven to 14 days, or until the seeds are completely dry. Brush off any remaining pulp, if applicable.

Step 5

Label an envelope or jar with the seed variety and year harvested. Store in a cool, dry place until you are ready to plant them the following spring. A refrigerator or other 32 to 42 degrees F location makes a suitable storage place.

Tips and Warnings

  • Moisture is the enemy of stored seeds. Ensure they are kept dry or place a small packet of silica gel in the envelope or jar to absorb any excess moisture. Silica is available from florists.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife
  • Bowl
  • Baking pan
  • Paper towels
  • Envelope or jar
  • Pencil

References

  • College of the Virgin Islands Extension: Tips on Saving Vegetable Seeds
Keywords: drying vegetable seeds, seed saving, storing plant seeds

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.