It is important that when using seed saving techniques, you first know a bit about why you may need to save seeds, how you can save them, and how to use them after they have been saved. Following these steps on seed saving and storage can be incredibly fun, incredibly rewarding, and may just save your life one day.
Knowing some possible uses for seeds that you have dried and stored can help make sense of the process and make it that much easier to get started and to carry through to the end.
The first and most obvious reason that you may want to try seed saving is that it is great for replanting.
Not only does it save you money from year to year, but it can also help you preserve species that you liked the year before, customize your garden, and get a feel for how to utilize every part of the plants you grow.
Another reason you may want to stock up on seeds is to help resupply your stockpiling food efforts. Though you can buy seeds from the store, if times were to get difficult, it would be necessary to be able to store and save your own seeds.
Seed Saving Supplies
It is crucial that before you start your seed-saving venture you figure out just what seed-saving supplies you need.
The basic supplies you will need are your vegetables to harvest seeds from, a knife to access the seeds, a spoon or scoop to harvest the seeds, a receptacle to catch and wash the seeds, and a dish and wax paper or butcher paper to dry the seeds.
The first step to saving tomato seeds, saving cucumber seeds, saving pepper seeds, or any seeds that you may decide to save, is, of course, harvesting your seeds.
Harvesting starts with the proper dissection of the fruit or veggie that you are going to save seeds from.
With wet vegetables like cucumber, you may have a bit harder time. When saving cucumber seeds you need to access the interior of your cucumber. Once you have split it open you can use a spoon to help scoop out the seeds. After you have removed them, again wash and get ready for step two.
For vegetables like squash and pumpkin, the process is a bit different. When saving squash seeds and saving pumpkin seeds you have much less flesh to deal with and a much larger abundance of seeds. Much like a cucumber, once you have accessed the interior of squash you can use a spoon to hollow out the seed cavity to harvest your seeds.
Washing may seem like a simple step, but you need to be careful and follow a few simple rules.
When saving pumpkin seeds and saving squash seeds, you need to make sure you remove as much of the membrane as possible.
Though a little is not going to ruin your seeds, the more organic matter you have left on your seeds the more chances there are for rot and mold to set in.
To remove all the pulp, you will need to rinse your seeds several times and make sure you have removed all that you possibly can.
With cucumber seed, you can generally pop them out of the flesh and give them a quick rinse.
The first method is the good old air dry. This is the longest but also the safest way to dry your seeds. To air dry, you need to first have your seeds well washed. When saving seeds, washing them helps to prevent mold. After you have washed your seeds you can pat them as dry as possible to help start the drying process.
After you have patted them dry you should use something like butcher paper or wax paper to lay them out. While a paper towel may seem like a good option, paper towels can soak up the liquid and keep it next to the seed causing premature molding. Butcher paper and wax paper will keep your seeds from drying to the surface you are using and will help to wick away moisture.
Make sure your seeds are laid out in an even, single layer. It is important that your seeds not be on top of one another because this slows the drying time and again helps to encourage mold.
After you have laid out your seeds choose a good location that is dry, free of humidity, and in the sun if you can manage it. Placing seeds in the sun will help to speed up the process. After that, all you have to do is wait.
Depending on the seeds and where you have chosen to leave them, the process can take as little as two or three days to as long as a week.
There are a few different ways that you can dry seeds and each is as effective as another. Another method is the assisted seed drying.
After you have dried your seeds you need to consider how to store them. There are a few different ways that you can store your seeds.
There are more receptacles than you might ever imagine for saving your seeds and knowing a bit about each is the best way to get your seeds safely tucked away.
The first seed storage method is of course Ziploc or zip-top bags. These are only useful if the seeds are all the way dried. These will keep out moisture, keep seeds together, and they are easy to fold up and tuck away in a bag or a drawer. They also hold numerous seeds, come in a wide range of sizes, and are relatively cheap. This type of seed storage is only for temporary storage as it can trap moisture in with the seeds causing them to rot.
Another seed storage method is, of course, airtight containers. These can be food storage containers, airtight crafting containers, or even those that have been specially designed for seeds.
These are great if you can find them, but they may also help to trap moisture and cause premature molding and rot.
The absolute best way to store seeds is in a good old paper envelope. An envelope, like the ones that seeds are sold in at the store, allows for air to pass in and out which means that moisture will also pass in and out and not become trapped. These paper envelopes are cheap, easy to store, come in a ton of sizes, and are great when it comes to packing them around.
Paper envelopes make for the best storage, and they are easy to come by. Though seed drying and seed saving may seem like a long arduous process, the reward is great.