Saving your vegetable seeds may seem like a difficult task, but it is not difficult to do this. Learning how to save your vegetable seeds will save you money year after year. There are a few important things to consider before beginning to save your seeds. You will need to decide what type of seeds you have and how to store each different type. Not all varieties of seeds can be stored using the same method. Another factor to consider is how long the seeds will store. This is important because not all seeds will keep for the same period.
Determining which type of seeds you have is the first step in deciding whether your seeds should be stored and for how long. Hybrid seeds, which are made from cross-pollinated plants, are unpredictable in that you do not know what variety you will end up with when replanting. For this reason, it is not recommended to store hybrid seeds for later use. One type of seed is that which are desiccation-tolerant. These seeds will safely dry for long-term storage. Desiccation-intolerant seeds, however, will die if allowed to dry. There is also another type of seed which is borderline intolerant. These are mainly from citrus and can be dried and stored for a time.
After determining the type of seeds you want to store, you must decide whether the seeds are ripe. This is a big part of learning how to save your vegetable seeds. Ripeness is basically determined by when the seeds are most viable. Do not confuse this with when the plant is most edible. The two do not always coincide. The ways in which you can determine the viability of the seeds are by the color, whether or not the seeds are firm or tender, and by evaluating the state of the plant that the seeds are a part of. There is a different way to make this determination for each type of plant.
When approaching the last stage of learning how to save your vegetable seeds, remember that there are different storage methods for each type of seed. Desiccation-tolerant seeds should be dried gradually. These seeds must be kept at the correct temperature and with the proper level of moisture. Desiccation-intolerant seeds, however, will keep best when moist and cool with a bit of air exposure. The best way to offer exposure to air during storage is to poke small holes in the container where seeds are kept.
While there are several factors to consider when beginning to learn how to save your vegetable seeds, it is not as difficult as it may seem. Once you decide the type of seed you want to store, how to tell if the seeds are ripe, and how to store each type of seed, the task becomes less difficult, and even enjoyable. Mastering the art of saving your seeds is a great skill to have in today’s economy and can bring you a great sense of accomplishment for years to come.