Saving Seeds From Your Garden


Do you have a favorite variety of vegetable or flower growing in your garden? Then you may be interested in saving seeds from your garden. Seed saving has become less common in recent years due to the convenience of easily purchased seed packets. However, devoted gardeners may want to save unusual vegetable or flower seeds from their garden. Gathering seeds and replanting the following year will save you a little money and but more importantly help preserve an age-old gardening culture.

Saving Seeds From Your Garden: Basics

If collecting seeds from vegetables you should always save from large health looking fruit with the best traits. You’ll also want to make sure the vegetable is fully ripe before harvesting for seed collection. Flower seeds should always be collected on a sunny dry day. If it rained recently, wait a day or two before collecting seeds or seed pods.

Easiest Vegetable Seeds To Collect

Seeds can be saved from nearly all vegetables grown in the garden with some caveats. Some vegetables self-pollinate, some require cross pollination, others only flower and produce seeds the following year (biennials). As such, we recommend the novice seed saver start with vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, peas, and beans. These vegetables all self-pollinate and seeds can be collected in one growing season.

Easiest Perennial Seeds To Collect

Looking to expand your perennial beds? Saving perennial flower seeds may be a good way to avoid the high price of nursery plants. Of course, some perennials are easier to start from seed than others. We’ve had much success starting many perennials from seed such as Liatris, Coneflower, Butterfly Bush, and Obedient Plant. Be sure and check out our guides below for more info about growing these perennials.

Can You Save Seeds From Hybrids?

The short answer to this question is no. Well, technically you can save and grow the seeds from hybrid vegetables and flowers but the plants will not grow true to the species. Hybrids are a cross between two varieties and will not likely possess the traits of the parent plant.

Storing Seeds From Your Garden

Now that you’ve devoted the time to saving seeds from your garden it’s important to store them properly. The most important step in storing seeds is to ensure that they are thoroughly dry. This can be accomplished by placing the seeds on a coffee filter or paper towel for several days in an area with low humidity. Once dry, the seeds should ideally be sealed in a glass container to prevent absorption of moisture from the air. If you have many varieties of seed, you can package them separately in a paper packet then placed in a jar or other glass container.

Recommended Reading

Looking for some in depth information about collecting, storing, and planting seeds? If so then we recommend picking up a copy of “The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds” by Robert E. Gough. Available in either paperback or Kindle Edition, the book provides comprehensive seed saving details about 322 varieties of vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers, trees, and shrubs.

This book is packed with useful information. Robert does an excellent job of describing everything from the basics of seed saving to breeding your own varieties. I felt like I had a good grasp on seed saving, however Robert’s book has provided me with a much more in-depth approach to seed saving. If you’re interested in saving seeds from your garden, I highly recommend this book!

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