Seed Saving from your homegrown or allotment grown fruit and vegetables

Seed Saving from your Homegrown or Allotment Grown
Fruit and Vegetables

Growing your own fruit and vegetables is extremely rewarding and helps towards a sustainable lifestyle with many benefits. There are many things we can do to enhance our growing experiences including the saving of seeds from previously grown fruit, vegetables and flowers.

Seed-saving has been practiced for many years; some crops are easier than others to do so. If harvested at the right time and the seeds are stored in the correct way and then sown in the correct conditions, you should be able to achieve success without having to buy seed packets or young plants.

Seeds should be stored in individual envelopes or in an airtight container, in a dry place, indoors. This prevents moisture from spoiling the seeds or mice eating their way through your supply.

It is important to label your seeds correctly, including the name, variety and date you collected them. Not only does this ensure that you know which seeds you are sowing but you can also analyse how successful each seed-saving project was. By the time sowing season rolls around, you will need to remember exactly what's what.

Seed swapping is a popular scheme on many allotment sites; try new varieties or recommend yours to other growers.

It is also a fun, crafty project for children to make their own decorative seed packets to sell at school fetes and so on.

Things to remember for seed saving:

  • Seed from F1 hybrids will not be the same as the parent plant.
  • Save seed from healthy looking plants
  • Collect seed when seed heads appear to be ripening. Unripe pods will not ripen once picked
  • Collect on a dry day to avoid fungal rot on seeds
  • Label with name and date to avoid confusion later
  • Collect seeds directly from the plant into paper bags or into trays lined with newspaper
  • Dry capsules and pods in a warm dry place until seeds are released
  • For fleshy seeds such as tomatoes and cucumbers - ferment the seed for 3 days to remove the jelly like coating. Rinse in water then dry in a warm place
  • Separating seeds from the chaff – the remains of the seed capsule. Use a tea strainer for small seeds or garden sieves for larger seeds, blowing away the chaff
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