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Simple Seed Harvest and Storage Tips

I love gardening and the opportunity to harvest and store the seeds from the plants I grew this year for the next year's planting! How do I do it? I grow organic heirloom plants that are open-pollinating which enable them to develop seeds within the same growing season and as well as ensure that an almost exact copy will grow the following year. Let's check out a few plants that are the simplest to gather seeds from...

Heirloom Plants: Heirloom plants are vintage varieties cultivated for generations due to their special traits and heritage.

Yard Long Beans on Trellis
Taiwan Yard Long Beans photo by Laura Christine

Open-Pollinating Plants: Open-pollinated plants reproduce naturally, with seeds that can be saved and planted again while maintaining their similar traits.


Cucumbers and Peppers

Pepper and cucumber seeds are super easy to harvest! Just scrape seeds out of the

vegetable, wash off the "gel stuff" , and put seeds on a plate to dry! That's it!

Sliced Pickling Cucumbers
Pickling Cucumbers


Melons and Squash

Yellow Squash in Raised Bed
Yellow Squash photo by Laura Christine

Both vegetables have seeds that are easy to remove. Once you remove them, rinse them with water to get the "sticky stuff" off! Put on plate or screen to dry for a few days.



Tomato seeds are fairly easy to harvest. Scoop the seeds and gel out of the center of the tomato. Remove the gel and place the remaining seeds into water to do a float test to determine which seeds are viable for your next growing season.

Check out the video below to see how to do this!!!

Roma Tomatoes that are Ripening
Ripening Roma photo by Laura Christine


Check out a quick video about tomato seeds...


Yellow Wax Bean on the Vine
Yellow Wax Beans photo by Laura Christine


Beans are the easiest out of all the vegetables! There is no work involved! I leave the beans on the plant and let nature do it's thing! The beans, if left on the plant (untouched), will produce their seed inside the pod and eventually turn brown and dry out. Inside the crispy like pod shell are perfectly dried beans!


Romaine bolting plant
Bolting Romaine Lettuce photo by Laura Christine


Greens from our garden is usually in the form of many different types of lettuce and kale. In order to get their seeds, like the beans, I leave the plant alone. Left alone, greens will grow tall and form flowers or what is known as bolting. After flowering, seeds form and at this point I cut off the tops of the plants and put them in paper bags to finish the process of seed

drying and collection.

BOLTING: "Bolting" refers to the rapid growth of a flowering stem in response to changing environmental conditions, triggered by factors like temperature and day length. The plant senses unfavorable conditions so it goes through the process to produce flowers which results in seeds. 


Check out my video on harvesting lettuce seeds...


How To Dry Seeds

A handful of onion seeds
Onion Seeds photo by Laura Christine

Seed drying is pretty straight forward.

You remove the seeds from the plant or the fruit and dry them through

simple methods.

  • You can dry seeds on a screen, plastic or a glass plate.

  • Don't dry seeds on paper towels or paper plates because they will stick to the paper and get damaged when you try to remove them.


Storing Seeds

Lots of Pumpkin Seeds!
Pumpkin Seeds photo by Laura Christine

Storing dry seeds properly is essential to maintain their viability over time.

Here are some steps to take;

1. Make sure your seeds are completely dry!

2. Choose an airtight container

Airtight containers prevent moisture and air from getting in. Glass jars with tight fitting

lids, vacuum-sealed bags, and plastic containers with good seals are good choices.

3. Label each container

It's easy to track when you put the plant name and collection date on the container.

4. Protect against moisture.

Add desiccants like silica gel packets into the container and they will absorb excessive

moisture and maintain a dry environment in the container.

5. Cool and Dark Storage

Store in a cool, dark, and dry place that generally has temperatures between 32℉ ( 0℃)

and 50℉ (10℃). Avoid areas like attics or garages that have temperature fluctuations

6. Refrigerator or Freezer Options

If you want longer-term storage, place your containers in either the refrigerator or

freezer. Freezing will extend the shelf life of seeds, especially those that require cold


If your containers have been in the freezer, allow them to reach room temperature before

opening to prevent moisture condensation on the seeds.

Stratification: Stratification is a way to imitate the natural cold and warm cycles that seeds experience when they are outside during the winter in their native environment. Certain seeds need specific amounts of cold or warm time to start growing. This happens naturally when seeds are left outside or in a cold place during winter. Gardeners can copy these conditions indoors to help these seeds start growing.

Thank you for joining me!

Until next time, have a fantastic gardening day!!!

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