For food gardeners collecting and storing seeds for the next growing season is a must, especially for any gardener who wants to grow organically or anyone who wants to guarantee that the food that they are growing is non-GMO.
Therefore knowing how to collect and properly store seeds is a must.
HOW TO COLLECT SEEDS
How to collect seeds from your garden will depend on the type of food it is.
Herbs, legumes, and vegetables will flower then from the flower is where the seeds will form, making the seeds easy to harvest and will dry out the fastest.
When harvesting seeds from herbs, it is best to make your cut several inches below the seeds so you have something to hold.
Place the cutting in a paper bag with the seed facing down and allow it to dry.
When the seedpods have opened slightly lift the cutting and shake it to release the seeds.
Most vegetable seeds will also be harvested this way.
Legumes will come in a seedpod that needs to ripen on the vine and should be removed from the plant when the pod starts to turn brown.
The seeds in the pods can be heard rattling in the pod when shaken and will need about two weeks to dry out before the beans can be shelled.
Fruits for the most part from their seeds inside the fruit making their drying process take longer than vegetables.
To harvest their seeds the fruit needs to be fully mature then it can be removed from the plant and opened.
The seeds will need to be separated from the meat or pulp of the fruit and placed on a paper towel or cloth towel.
Then use another paper towel or fold the cloth towel in half and pat the seeds to remove any moisture on the outside of the seed.
Place the seeds on a clean flat surface such as a large baking sheet making sure that the seeds are not on top of each other to dry.
Make sure to label the seeds or draw the baking sheet on a piece of paper, draw a circle to show each group of seeds, and wright the name of the plant in the center of each circle as you place them on the baking sheet.
HOW TO STORE SEEDS
For seeds to germinate they need a proper amount of moisture, sunlight, and warmth therefore when storing them they need the opposite of what it takes for them to sprout.
The first step in storing seeds is to properly dry them out, to do this they should be placed in a container that is big enough for them to spread out without piling on top of each other.
To speed this process up you can use a fan that is blowing air on the seeds, but the amount of time that it will take to dry a seed out will depend on the size of the seed.
After the seeds have been properly dried I prefer to place them in a vacuum seal bag to help prevent any moisture from getting to the seeds.
When the vacuum seal bags have been properly sealed, then I like to place them in another vacuum seal bag that will hold all of the vegetables, one for all of the fruits, one for all of the herbs, and one for all of the legumes or beans.
This will help to ensure that the seeds don’t absorb any moisture and it is a good way to store the seeds because when planting herbs for example, you can just grab the bag labeled herbs and find the seeds that you want to plant.
After the seeds have been protected from moisture they will need to be stored in a cool dark environment and I prefer to use my refrigerator because they will be kept cool and away from any light.
If you are wanting to store seeds for more than one year then it is highly recommended to store them in a freezer.
This is totally safe to do and in fact, seed storage banks freeze their seeds to keep them safe for five years or more depending on the hardiness of the seed being stored.
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