It’s getting to the point that fruiting vegetables will no longer be producing this year, and time to starting thinking about next year’s crop. Purchasing seeds every year will quickly add up, and many of the crops that are commonly grown produce seeds that can be collected and saved for next year. Here are some tips for saving money on next year’s garden by collecting seeds this year.
Allow some of your greens to bolt this time of year so that you can get their seeds. Don’t harvest the seeds to early, wait for the leaves to start to die back. If the seeds are fluffy, like lettuce seeds, and you see some begin to fall gather the seeds still on the plant in a paper bag and dry them inside for several days before sealing them up.
Large Hard Seeds
Crops that produce large, hard seeds like beans or okra should be allowed to dry out on the plant. The fruit or the pod should turn completely brown and hard like cardboard. If you flick the fruit or pod and you hear the seeds rattle inside, they are dried and ready to collect.
Small Flat Seeds
Crops that produce small, flat seeds in fruit like eggplant and tomatoes should be allowed to ripen fully on the plant and then picked. The seeds will be difficult to remove by hand and are harder than they look. You can place the fruit in a blender or food processor and blend it unit it is able to be separated with water. The seeds that float in the water are no good and can be poured off. The seeds that sink can be strained out and dried for several days before sealing up for next year.
At $3 or more per packet, each plant that you can collect seeds from well help you save money that you can invest elsewhere in your garden. Plants will also become specialized to your area over the years, making them more productive and more resistant to diseases and pests than the plants grown from newly purchased seeds.
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