Authored by Suzanne Alicie in Gardening
Published on 10-05-2009
Gardeners know that growing your own food is an economic and healthy way to feed your family. However, buying seeds each spring can get expensive. Smart gardeners know to try to harvest seeds each year to be used for the next year. It may sound difficult or time consuming but in reality this is a pretty simple task, and simply requires a little knowledge and preparation.
Saving Green Bean Seeds
When you harvest your green beans leave several beans on the vine until they begin to dry up. This is when the seeds are ready to be harvested. Simply shell the seeds, wash them and allow them to dry for several days before sealing them and storing them in a cool dry place until spring.
Saving Seed Potatoes
When you dig potatoes simply separate a few of them and leave them in a dry area until they begin to sprout eyes. Once the eyes appear cut the potato in to several pieces with an eye or two on each one. Place the pieces in a paper bag and store in a cool and dry place until you are ready to plant in the spring. You can usually get 3 to 4 plants off of each saved potato.
Saving Tomato Seeds
Tomato seeds require a little more preparation. To save tomato seeds you must sacrifice a tomato or two. Cut the tomato and remove the seeds. Place the seeds in a cup of water and leave in a warm place for 5 to 6 days stirring daily. This is a fermentation process which removes the gel casing on the seeds. The water will form a film and produce an odor. Strain the seeds and rinse them with cool water. Lay the seeds on paper towels or paper bags to dry completely for several days. Flip them and place fresh paper underneath them every day. When the seeds are hard and dry, not sticky or stuck together they are ready to be stored. Make sure to seal your tomato seeds in a container that will keep them dry though the winter. Moisture will cause tomato seeds to mold and rot very quickly.
Saving Seed Corn
At the end of the season cull a few ears of corn for seed. Place them in a cool area to dry completely for about 2 weeks. At the end of the two weeks shuck and clean the cobs of all husks and silk. Use your hand to rub off the corn kernels, place them in a freezer bag, and squeeze out all the air. Place the seed corn in the freezer where it will stay dormant until the day you decide to plant next year.
These are the basics for harvesting seeds when you harvest your garden. By taking these steps you are saving money, preventing waste and you have the knowledge that what you are growing in your garden is good and chemical free. Essentially after the first season you will never have to buy seeds again unless you choose a different type of vegetable to plant.