Organic Heirloom Plants

Striving for Sustainable Agriculture

How To Collect And Save Seed

Saving Seed for your future


The season has come to save the rest of our seed for next years planting as the leaves are turning to crimson and gold and the flowers are spent and forming their seed pods for collecting. There are many 'wild' medicinal plants going to seed as well and you don't want to overlook them for more seed propogation in the coming growing season. A few highly sought after wild growing heirloom plants are: St. Johnswort, Mullein, Queen Anne's Lace, Yarrow, Red Clover,Solomon's Seal, Goldenrod, Spearmint and Evening Primrose. Remember to Plant only Heirloom Seed!

When to collect seed:

Saving seed starts early in the season when the fruits are being harvested. You want to mark those plants with the best production and biggest fruit to save for seed. Flowers are easy to identify when they go to seed as the flower is spent, the seed heads start to form and dry. Most seed heads are collected after you can visually see the heads are dry or near dry. Collecting them at the right time is crucial for viable seed. Be sure not to cut those flowers mid season on the plants you have chosen to save seed from to allow them to form their seed heads. Some herb and vegetable plants take a bit longer for the seed to be ready to be collected. Be sure the seed pods are fully developed and have turned brown before collecting and just before they drop their seed! A Daily inspection of this process will ensure you catch these at the right time. When you are assured they are ready for harvesting, it's time for further drying and processing. Collect all plant stems with seed pods and place them upside down in a paper bag large enough to hold the length of the stems collected.


How to Dry Seed:

Once you have the seed stems or heads in your paper bag, place the bag on it's side in a sunny location for further drying for a few days. There may be some seed pods that haven't quite matured and you want to be sure all moisture is gone prior to storing. After a few days, most seed can be removed from their pods by shaking the stems inside the paperbag and allowing the seed to fall to the bottom of the bag. Once you feel you have the majority of the seed loosened from the pods, pour the seed into a tightly meshed wire strainer over a bowl that will allow the seed to escape and the remainder plant debri to remain in the strainer. You may then 'pour' the seed from the bowl and place them in airtight glass jars and mark it with variety and date. Most seeds will keep for many years in a dark, cool and dry place. When saving seed for plants such as tomatoes, pumpkins, peppers and the like, carefully cut open the 'fruit' and remove the seed. Place the seed in a shallow dish of water to allow fermentation of the seed. Cover with a plastic bag and be sure to stir daily for 3-4 days. The viable seed will float to the bottom and the remainding seed floating on the top should be removed along with plant debri and discarded. Rinse your seed carefully and place out to dry in one layer on a waxed paper plate or other non-stick surface. Drying time for seed depends on the size and variety of the seed (normally 3-7 days). Turn your seed daily being sure they are separated from one another. When your are assured your seed is thoroughly dried, store and mark as mentioned above.

What Kind of seed can be saved?:

Only Heirloom seed can be saved and grown true from it's parent plant for next seasons crops. Hybrid seed is genetically changed (GMO, Genetically modified) and will not sustain any agriculture efforts through the seasons and years. You want to plan carefully for next seasons planting and be sure you purchase only Organic heirloom seed. Many retail stores do not have heirloom seed (and most likely NOT Organic), so a trusted supplier is your best bet!

Where to get Organic Heirloom Seed:

We are nearly done collecting over 100 varieties of Organic Heirloom Vegetable, Flower and Herb Seed and the process is lengthy! We will be posting all available Heirloom seed shortly so that you will have a good source for 'true' seed for next seasons growing efforts! Be sure to sign up for our Newsletter to keep informed of the availability. Seed starting for most starts Mid January-March. We will have a limited supply of some seed so early ordering is encouraged.

Your Friend In Gardening,

Organic Heirloom Plants

Striving For Sustainable Agriculture


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