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Gardening Tips: How to Collect & Save Vegetable Seeds for Next Year

Ensure that the plants from which you are harvesting seeds are heirloom or open-pollinated varieties. These are plants that will produce seeds with the same characteristics as their parents in their original forms.

Sandeep Kr Tiwari
Make sure that the plants from which you are harvesting seeds are heirloom or open-pollinated varieties.
Make sure that the plants from which you are harvesting seeds are heirloom or open-pollinated varieties.

Many of the vegetables that we cultivate in our gardens produce seeds if collected and stored properly. This will further provide us with free seedlings, and the best time to begin collecting them is late summer.

Make sure that the plants from which you are harvesting seeds are heirloom or open-pollinated varieties. These are plants that will produce seeds with the same characteristics as their parents in their original forms.

On the other side, hybridised varieties are made by breeding two or more distinct types to combine their best traits. Growing plants from hybrid seeds will disappoint you because the offspring won't have the characteristics you were hoping for; instead, they'll have the features of only one parent, which is impossible to predict. For this reason, it’s best not to grow seeds from supermarket produce.

In the garden, pollinators, other insects, animals, and wind spread pollen from one plant to another, resulting in the cross-pollination of several plants. Different varieties of the same crop should be kept anywhere from 100 feet to a mile apart, depending on climate, weather, and other factors, to ensure that the seeds you gather will grow into plants that match their parent. In the backyard garden, this is frequently impractical, if not impossible.

How to Collect and Store Seeds from Most Common Homegrown Plants

Lettuce

When the growing season is over, lettuce will bolt, or sprout a flower stem with seed heads resembling dandelion puffs. Remove the entire stem from the puffs once they have dried, put it in a paper bag, fold the top over, and shake. When this happens, the seeds will separate from the flower and drop to the bag's bottom.

Eggplants

Let the eggplant overripe until it turns tough and wrinkled and loses its colour and gloss. Open it up, take out the seeds, and put the seeds in a bowl of water. Use your hands to stir the water to loosen any attached flesh from the seeds. After straining, blot the seeds dry with a towel and put them out on a towel or screen to dry for up to a month.

Peppers

Choose the most attractive pepper from your healthiest plant, then leave it there until it is wrinkled and overripe. Slice it in half, then remove the seeds, discarding any that are unpleasant or discoloured. 

Spread the seeds out in a single layer on paper towels, then let them dry in a warm area out of the sun. The seeds should dry evenly for roughly a week, so toss them occasionally.

Basil

Due to their small size, basil seeds can be difficult to separate from the chaff and small flower petals. Flowers should be left in place until they fully fade when plants bolt at the end of the season. Cut them off, put them in a mesh sieve or colander, and rub the bottom of the sieve with your fingertips.

Parsley

The biennial parsley plant has a two-year life cycle and produces only edible foliage in its first year before producing leaves and flowers in the 2nd year. In the second-year plants, let the flowers last until they turn brown and brittle. Cut them off the plant, place them in a paper bag, and let them dry for a few weeks. Rub the flowers between your fingers to separate the seeds as soon as you take them out of the bag. Then, blow away the light, dry plant matter and discard them.

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