Save Green by Saving Seeds from Your Garden

My Tower Garden looks a little crazy right now. One entire side is completely overtaken by mustard greens that have bolted and flowered. Why am I allowing them to remain and take up precious space? To collect the seeds, of course!

Saving seeds is one of my favorite gardening activities, because it’s a sustainable way to keep growing my favorite plant varieties for free. And it’s easy, too. Here are tips on saving seeds from various plants.

Flowers, greens, herbs, legumes and other plants that produce dry seeds

The seeds of these plants happen to be the easiest to harvest. All it takes is patience! Simply wait to collect the seeds from the plant until they’re dry—unless there’s danger of frost, in which case you should pull the plants and hang them in a warm, dry location.

Tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant and squash

Required for tomato seeds, and often helpful for cucumber, eggplant and squash seeds, fermentation removes germination-inhibiting substances from the seed coat. Here’s how to successfully ferment seeds of these plants:

  • Start with an overly ripe fruit.
  • Add seeds and any surrounding pulp into a jar and cover with water.
  • Place the jar in a warm place and stir daily for about 3 days.
  • After rinsing, dry seeds for at least 2 weeks.

Melons, peppers, pumpkins and other fruit-bearing plants

For produce with seeds surrounded by pulp or flesh, simply scoop the seeds out and clean them in a bowl of water. Once you’ve separated the seeds from the pulp, allow them to dry for at least 2 weeks.

In all cases, once your seeds have fully dried, store them in a cool, dry, dark place (even the refrigerator will do!). When properly stored, most seeds will remain viable for several years.

Tower Tip: Sound like to much work? Here are a few great places to buy quality seeds.

Do You Save Seeds from Your Garden?

What’s your experience been like?

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