Seed saving is easy – growers of all ages can do it. If you pick one or more of your best plants and let them flower and form seeds, you can save the seeds for another year. Picking your best plants means over time you will have the seeds of plants that really like it in your growing space. They will be a little bit different from the first seeds you planted – your very own variety.
Saving seeds means one packet can last a lifetime so you can save money. You can download our simple seed-saving guide here. It covers how to get started.
- Pick your tastiest or best growing plant – peas and beans are super easy to start with
- Tie a ribbon to it to remind you not to pick and eat it
- Wait until it has ‘gone to seed’ and harvest the seeds on a dry day
Let the seeds dry out some more and store them – an old envelope is fine or you can fold a seed packet.
Write the name of the seed, date, and the reason you saved it and you’re all set.
Keep seeds cool and dry to store them – maybe in a mouse-proof biscuit tin if you’re using the shed, or an air-tight jam jar if you want to keep them longer.
Generally, the bigger the seed, the longer it can be stored – because it has a starchy food store with it. Small seeds like carrot and parsnip are best planted the next year as they won’t last long. Seeds in a wet fruit like tomatoes need to be fermented in water for a few days then thoroughly rinsed and dried so no pulp is left. They are a bit more complicated but very satisfying.
Some plants look pretty spectacular going to seed – a bonus garden ornament. Seed saving is also a good way to preserve heritage varieties of seed. You can find out more about a national heritage seed saving project here.