Seed Saving Made Easy


| 8/1/2018 12:22:00 PM


Saving seeds is an integral part of sustainable gardening. It’s also a great way to save money and ensure that you’re growing what you think you’re growing and not some genetically-modified version. Learning the finer points of seed saving is easy, once you understand a few basics of how seeds are formed.

Seed Basics

Depending on the plant, its seeds are formed and mature in different ways. Some seeds are formed on the inside of fruit like squash while others are formed in the flowers of a plant like carrots and broccoli. To a botanist, a “fruit” is the structure that bears the seeds of a plant. It is formed in the plant's flower. Remember, squash form from the flower of the plant. In nature, seeds are at the heart of reproduction which serves as a plant’s entire focus. In essence, a plant’s job is to propagate its species.

sugar_snap_pea_varying stages

Lost? No worries! All you need to know is that once you plant a seed, it germinates into a beautiful seedling that captures the sunlight using the process of photosynthesis and grows into a lush bounty—one you can harvest and consume. 

Harvesting Seeds from Fruits

For seed collection, it’s crucial we know where to look for the seeds we want to save. Examples of seeds found inside the fruit include squash, cucumbers, watermelons, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, legumes, and the like. Seeds harvested from the flower include carrots, broccoli, lettuce, and the like. In a home vegetable garden, it’s interesting to note that in some cases, we’re actually eating the seeds, as is the case with beans. Other times, we’re eating the leaves or roots of the plant, as in lettuce and carrots. And then there are those situations where we’re eating the “stem” of the plant as in celery and potatoes.



Collecting legume seeds is easy. They’re of good size and you can easily pluck them from a mature pod. Allow them to dry and you’re done. The key here is a “mature pod.” If you try to save seeds from a bean or pea pod that hasn’t fully matured, your seeds won’t be viable. A good rule of thumb is to allow them to turn brown and dried on the plant, then collect them for your very own.