There are lots of reasons for saving seeds. Maybe you want to save money or maybe you want to experiment with your own breeding goals. Or maybe you want to grow plants that are easy to care for and taste great instead of growing plants from commercial seed providers with their own goals, which tend to be focused on shipping quality and the ability to be stored for long periods. Or perhaps you’re concerned about GMO’s and the loss of adaptability of food plants.
And maybe it’s just a fun hobby. We know of people who always carry envelopes so when they see an interesting flower they can take it home and harvest the seeds.
Whatever the reason, seed saving is easy and fun. It takes a little time and patience, but it’s well worth the effort. This week we saved two types of seeds. We saved tomato seeds and Blue Wonder green bean seeds. This gave us the opportunity to try two methods of seed saving: dry seeds and wet seeds.
Saving Dry Seeds: Kentucky Blue Wonder Green Beans
“Dry” seeds include beans, okra, peppers, basil, and members of the onion and carrot families. Cleaning dry seeds usually involves simply drying and crumbling the pods or husks, then separating the seeds from the chaff.
Saving Wet Seeds: Tomatoes
Saving wet seeds is a little more involved than saving dry seeds. To save our tomato seeds, we followed the instructions for tomatoes from the International Seed Saving Institute.
Store your seeds in a container that won’t allow moisture to enter or build up inside. Use glass jars with lids, envelopes, or bags. Keep them in a cool, dry place. Don’t store them in an outside shed. Optimal storage conditions are 45 to 55 degrees with around 25% humidity.
If you decide to save seeds, here are some resources to help you out:
- Seed Savers Exchange.
- International Seed Saving Institute.
- Organic Seed Alliance. This website has a handy form you can download to use to track information about the seeds you harvest.
- 7th Organic Seed Growers Conference.