Seed saving can help you save the fruits and vegetables that you love the most. Not only will saving your seeds help you to save money when gardening, but it is also an important part of becoming as independent as possible. The truth is that people save seeds for many reasons. Some people have actually formed seed saving groups in order to preserve different varieties of plants for future generations.
Depending upon the type of plant, it can be difficult to save the seeds. The easiest plants to start with are tomato, bean and pea plants. Once you have mastered the techniques of seed saving with these plants, you can move on to other plant varieties like broccoli and lettuce!
The first and most important rule of seed saving is that you should only save the seeds of open-pollinated plants. Many seeds today are hybrid plant seeds. This means that they are a cross of two different plant varieties. This also means that you will not get great results if you decide to save and plant the seeds the following year. There are many online resources for finding heirloom fruits and vegetables, so when you make your first purchase make sure you are choosing open-pollinated plants.
The next step is to look over your plants and choose the plant that has performed the best. This plant would have provided lots of vegetables and would be very healthy. Instead of harvesting all of the vegetables off of this plant, simply let the pods on the plant until the pod turns brown and you can hear the peas or beans shaking inside. This should take about a month, but time may vary. Pull the pod off the plant and save the seeds inside. You may find that the seeds are still not perfectly dried out once you take them out of the pod. Simply spread them on a paper towel to finish the process.
Tomato plant seeds are different. Simply scoop out the pulp including the seeds and float the entire blob in a bowl of water. After a few days, the seeds and the pulp will separate: the blob will stay floating but the seeds will drop to the bottom of the bowl. When the process is complete, drain of the water containing the tomato pulp. Then, spread the seeds out on a paper towel in order to let them dry.
Once the seeds are thoroughly dry, you can store them in a labeled envelope, a plastic bag, or a jar. Keep the different seeds separate and be sure to label your containers! Be sure to keep your seeds in a cool, dry place until you are able to plant them the next year. If you have not dried the seeds thoroughly before storing them, you may notice some mold growing. Simply take out the seeds that are affected as soon as possible. Put the rest of the seeds in another storage envelope and add several teaspoons of powdered milk to the seeds. The powdered milk will act as a desiccant and draw out any moisture still present.
Seed saving is a fun and rewarding hobby. Just think–hundreds of years from now, your descendents could be planting seeds which originally came from the plants in your garden!