Published on September 13th, 2011 | by Becky Striepe0
Saving Seeds for Future Harvests
Saving seeds can help save you money and feel more connected to the food you eat and grow!
After spending over $20 on seeds for my fall garden, I got to thinking about the whole idea of buying seeds. We get a beautiful bounty of fresh, organic veggies from our CSA every week, and I probably cook up and compost hundreds of seeds that we could have been saving for next year’s garden.
No more! After a bit of digging, I learned that with many fruits and veggies, it’s really not hard to save seeds for the next year’s harvest. With some plants, like most beans, you can’t save the seeds once you harvest, but there are so many other food plants where you can hoard those seeds for next season!
I started small, just saving some watermelon and jalapeno seeds, and it was super simple! Here’s how I saved those seeds and some resources to help you up your gardening game!s
Saving Jalapeno Seeds
This will work for most pepper, from what I’ve read, so don’t feel bound to the spicy jalapeno with this method. To save you pepper seeds, just set some aside while you’re chopping them, spread them in a thin layer on a plate, and place them somewhere cool and dry for a day or so. A spot on my kitchen counter that was away from the window worked well.
You’ll know your pepper seeds are ready, because they’ll turn sort of brittle. Instead of bending when you squeeze them, they’ll break in half.
Saving Watermelon Seeds
Since watermelon is sugary, you need to wash the seeds a little bit better. Use a gentle, biodegradable soap to clean the seeds off, then spread them in a single layer on a plate with a napkin under them to absorb the moisture, and let them dry.
Storing Saved Seeds
Most of what I’ve read recommends storing your seeds in an airtight container, like a glass jar. It’s also important that you write down what seeds you’re saving and when you packaged them up, so you’ll know how long they have. Different seeds last for different lengths of time, and Google is your friend when you’re trying to decide if that seed packed you found is worth planting.
To make DIY seed packets, like mine, you just need a used envelope and scotch tape. Cut the envelope to the size you need, leaving a bit of room at the top so that you can fold it over. Tape up any open sides from cutting, write the seed type and date on the front, fold it up, and stick it in a jar to store.
Seed Saving Resources
You want to make sure you’re getting your seed-saving information from a reputable source. It would be a shame to put all of that love into storing the seeds from a particularly delicious heirloom tomato, only to have them not work out next year. When you’re Googling for seed saving information, look for information from extension services, universities, and farmers. The West Virginia University Extension Service had some really great tips on seed saving that helped me out immensely!