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Does anyone have any tips on harvesting your own seeds?

I want to try harvesting my own seed from the plants in my garden and the product I have gotten from farmer's markets. Just wondering if anyone has any advice!

Tags: growing, harvesting, seedsaving

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It sometimes depends on what you're harvesting. If it is tomatoes we've found it best to ferment them before bagging. Most things we collect the seeds and set them somewhere they can dry out nicely and evenly (on a dish, not in direct sunlight) then place them in something like either a brown bag or a glass jar to further dry out. Finally, when we're really certain they're nice and dry, we bag them up in a small ziploc bag & label and date them.
Know though that some plants (heirlooms especially) are open-air pollinated - so unless you grow them yourself they may have cross pollinated (we've had this happen with tomatoes and an acorn squash/pumpkin hybrid) - and dill & fennel are REALLY well known for doing this if planted too close together. Also, make sure you know which plants might be biennial so you won't be disappointed if they don't come back the next year.
Collecting seeds gets so addictive though and is SO much fun. Good luck!!
I harvested seed from my dill and cilantro this year. I waited til they were semi-dry in the garden, then I cut them and stuck them all head first into paper bags. After they dried, I cut the bags open and rubbed the heads between my fingers to loosen the seed. I put the seed in plastic bags and are storing them over-winter in the fridge for next year.
This is a great discussion, because the rate at which our economy and the the rest of the world is going , seed saving could become very important. People should learn to save seeds and be able to grow their own food. Besides it's fun and you save money.
Does Fermenting them result in easier seed recovery? because I used a mesh cloth and just squeezed out the meat from the seeds and that also worked, and I used the pulp in a soup, but it was difficult to do.

Carrie Cox said:
It sometimes depends on what you're harvesting. If it is tomatoes we've found it best to ferment them before bagging. Most things we collect the seeds and set them somewhere they can dry out nicely and evenly (on a dish, not in direct sunlight) then place them in something like either a brown bag or a glass jar to further dry out. Finally, when we're really certain they're nice and dry, we bag them up in a small ziploc bag & label and date them.
Know though that some plants (heirlooms especially) are open-air pollinated - so unless you grow them yourself they may have cross pollinated (we've had this happen with tomatoes and an acorn squash/pumpkin hybrid) - and dill & fennel are REALLY well known for doing this if planted too close together. Also, make sure you know which plants might be biennial so you won't be disappointed if they don't come back the next year. Collecting seeds gets so addictive though and is SO much fun. Good luck!!
"The New Seed-Starters Handbook" by Nancy Bubel is a very good source of information about saving seeds from your own garden. Seeds from vegetables purchased from a farmers' market may have been grown with other varieties that may have been cross-pollinated. Sometimes seeds from these sources can provide interesting plants. For example, one of my zuccini plants crossed with ???. Rather than a bush, the plant spread like a pumpkin requiring a lot of space. Also I let a couple of pumpkin plants that sprouted in my compost/worm bed grow and ended up with small, 4" white pumpkins. Didn't have anything like that around previously. Roger
I would suggest a book called "Seed to Seed" By Susan Ashworth . I have been saving seeds for 40 years and agree it is addictive and fun ! I always have seeds in my pocket of some sort and it is so fun to just give a seed to a stranger and tell them to plant it . The reaction is very cool as this is not something people normaly do and people always like gifts . Most seeds need to be mature on the plant before collecting the seeds .You can't collect seeds from a zuccini or green pepper from the market because the seed is not mature . Peppers need to be red or orange or yellow . Many things are hybrids ,so be sure a plant is open pollinated if you want true seeds, though it is interesting to grow out hybrids just to get an education and see what you get. We did that with a hothouse tomato once and each year it morphed into a different sort of fruit -some not worth eating... Some seeds will keep for 5 years or more so you don't need to grow everything- every year.For tomatoes I sueeze out the seed sacks into a jar ,ferment them for a few days,then add water and pour off the scum till there are just clean seeds left astain these into a seive and put on a glass plate to dry . I have a gas stove and put them in an unlit oven . The pilot light is perfect for drying things . When they are totally dry, I lable them and put them in a small ziplock bag and store all those seeds in a mason jar in the frig .
I hope this helps :)Sharon( Sharons Natural Gardens)
Research stratification, some seeds need to be exposed to cold cycles, or pass through the digestive tracks of animals...
just make sure that the seeds are not hybrids 9 EVEN FARMERS MARKETS use hybrid seed they need to be heirloom plants take a fruit or vegetable that is ripe clean the seeds dry them on paper towels and then store in a plastic ziplock or jar label well
Here is something we posted to the HOMEGROWN.org blog about seed saving http://homegrown.org/blog/2009/07/diy-week-seedsaving/
Pick perfect fruit/vegetables to save seeds from. Some of the easiest are green beans (let the pods get rattle dry), pumpkin, lettuce. For tomatoes, pick a fully ripe fruit and squeeze seeds out removing the jelly like substance which has a growth inhibitor in it. Soak seeds in a glass jar with water added for several days. This removes all the fruit pieces and ensures you are not transferring bacteria with seeds. Lay out flat on towel to air dry completely. Label and store. For flowers, go out on a dry day and collect seed from brown flower heads, like zinnia, pot marigold, echinacea, etc. Dry completely on flat surface before storing. Be sure to label everything. You THINK you will remember, but you won't. haha. Happy harvesting.
That link is broken. Here's a good one:http://homegrown.org/blog/2009/07/diy-week-seedsaving/

Cornelia said:
Here is something we posted to the HOMEGROWN.org blog about seed saving http://homegrown.org/blog/2009/07/diy-week-seedsaving/
Here is a pictorial I did on my blog for an easy way to save tomato seeds...

http://metrofarming.blogspot.com/2010/08/seed-saving-101.html

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