Here’s a timely post from our friend and gardener extrordinaire, HerbDoc.
This is the time of year that I begin to think about saving seeds for next year. It’s one way to save a little bit of money and promote sustainability and biodiversity at the same time.
If you’d like to try saving seeds, make sure that only heirlooms or open pollinated varieties are saved. Hybrids will not breed true, and the plants produced may look very different from what you are currently growing.
Since I’m only growing heirloom tomatoes this year (Mortgage Lifter, Silvery Fir Tree and Brandywine), I will allow a few of each to become slightly overripe on the vine. Then the contents can be scooped out and placed in a bowl of water. Tomatoes have a germination inhibitor in the gel that surrounds the seeds
so that must be removed. After a few days in water, the pulp and gel separate from the seed. The seeds, which will fall to the bottom, can be removed and dried on paper towels. Store them in labeled glass jars or pill containers in a cool, dry place. Sometimes I’ll put a little packet of silica gel from my vitamin bottles in the bottom to stop moisture from forming. Eggplant and peppers can be done the same way.
Zucchini can be left on the vine until it hardens so the seed will be very large and well-developed. Slice the zucchini open lengthwise and pick out the seeds. There’s no need to soak them, but do dry them on paper towels before storing. Cukes, on the other hand, will have to go into a bowl of water to break down the pulp before you can harvest the seeds at the bottom of the bowl. Beans are the easiest of all the vegetables to harvest; just let them dry on the vines and remove them from the pods!
If done correctly and kept cool and dry, you’ll have a bumper crop of little seedlings next year at no cost!