Collecting Seed

drying seedpods
This year I have decided to do my first bit of seed collecting. I think I will stick to ‘easy’ seed for the moment, which means large ones like pumpkin, peas, runner beans and the like. I have already collect a ton of Klevedon wonder peas, Futsu and Uchki pumpkin, and the seeds pictured here are Enorma runner beans. The secret is to leave them on the plant to dry out for as long as possible. If you harvest the seeds when they are still green, they will rot in storage (as I found out with a previous batch of peas). They must be bone-dry before you pack them up into paper bags (or envelopes which is what I’m using). As usual store them in the dark in a cool place.

13 Comments on “Collecting Seed

  1. Hey….you nicked my hat! Oh no, mines a black one, forgot.

    We started seed saving this year too, both for ourselves and for HSL and it’s good fun. Made the mistake of leaving them in the lottie shed though and the mice pigged out….ooops!

  2. High Strength Lager….yekk! No, it’s the heritage seed library. We select some heritage varieties of whatever and act as seed guardians, growing the variety, collecting the seed and sending it back to them for distribution.

  3. ooh sounds cool – does it cost anything to join? I might have a go since I’m collecting the seed anyway I might as well do it for something worthwhile.

  4. Thanks CH. I’ve applied – let’s see if they’ll let me in :)

  5. I’ve had a reply from HSL – it seems I have to join first (doh!) which cost £16. So I’ll be doing that next week.

    The lady who replied was very nice and commented on the fact that I had already saved seed from pumpkins. She said:

    “I was interested to see that you saved seed from your own pumpkins this year. Pumpkins are promiscuous little things and as you have grown more than one variety the seed you have collected
    is likely to have been cross pollinated. It will produce fruit next year, but it will not be of the variety you expect. We have had a few
    ‘strange fruit’ produced here at Ryton on occasion as a result of an unexpected cross pollination!”

    Damn those bees!

  6. Steady on! Where would we be without those birds and those bees now?

    A world full of pedigree pumpkins….perish the thought.

  7. I was reading about saving Squash seed over at and this is what they say:

    “It’s no good just keeping some seed from any old squash you have grown.
    Squash are very promiscuous! You have to hand-pollinate the flowers to keep them true to type.
    Simple, but really necessary. Tie the flowers up with rubber bands to stop the insects getting in and crossing them.”

    I didn’t do that. Maybe I’ll buy some more squash seed…

  8. hi there

    even after seeds are dry pop in one of those little silica packets that you get with your vitamins – they will stop any moisture you could have missed.
    Careful if veggie is a hybrid – seeds will produce the original plant which might be a bit different to what you thought.

  9. Thanx for all the wonderful photos and reflections.

    I’ve had some of my tastiest squash from open-pollinated hybrids, and compost starts from hybrid store fruit. Anyone in the Portland area can come get Squash & radish seed from me, for free.

    Fellow seed savers might want a laff, and add your confessions at -search pdxJules and you’ll see this Thread: You must ADMIT being a Seed-Saving Nutcase WHEN…



    (friends, Please don’t let Beet or Corn throw pollen if it might be GMO or open-pollinated near fields likely to contain round-up ready and other Franken-plants. Also be aware that organic Farms at Markets can’t really swear anymore or label foods GMO free with certainty…lawsuits are still happening relative to these subjects, so we must all do our best, and show them some mercy on labeling)

  10. I’ve been saving seed for years – in the salad drawer of my fridge. This keeps them at optimum temperature so even after several years there is usually enough life left to get a crop. I’ve just shared some rather ancient broad beans wiht my whole church and lot sof people have come back to me with reports of grwoing plants.There are also any number of seed swop schemes about. Just Google. Yours, Margaret Watson

  11. I’ve sown nigella from saved seed. So started doing it with my veg seed. The rocket that I’d saved last year has come up a treat just now (for overwintering).Ditto the purple sprouting broccoli. My suspicion is that saved seed, even after one year, is still fresher than those bought in packets from the garden centres. I’m going to save radish seed this year too. I think lettuce seed is too tricky.