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Seed Library

Seed Saving

Storing Your Seeds

If you have leftover seed packets, either to keep for next year, or that you want to donate, tape the packet closed, and store them in an airtight container.


Choosing the Right Seeds to Save

Not all plants can have their seeds saved.

It's important to choose heirloom varieties because they are stabilized and will grow the plant that you are expecting. Other varieties might produce sterile seeds or grow different characteristics.


Avoid Cross-Pollination

Cross-pollination happens naturally and can affect the ability of your seeds to grow. They may grow differently than you expect or may not grow at all. 

  1. The easiest way to avoid cross-pollination is to only plant one variety of a plant. Tomatoes, peppers, and carrots will self-pollinate, so you only need to plant one of those to create viable seeds. 
  2. Grow different varieties further apart - at least 100 yards. This will make it harder for different varieties of a plant to pollinate each other.
  3. Use a blossom bag for planting varieties closer together. These are mesh bags that go over flowers so that the pollen can still be moved by the wind but can't get to other flowers. Check here for more information on using Blossom Bags.
  4. You can also hand-pollinate seeds, using a small paintbrush to transfer the pollen from one flower to a newly opened flower of the same variety. This is commonly used for vanilla. You may want to use blossom bags to ensure no additional pollination occurs.


Saving Seeds

  1. Allow flowering plants to flower and dry out. Beans can be left on the plant until they dry out. 
  2. Let the flowers grow and die back.
  3. Cut the flowers once dry and use a white piece of paper or a paper plate to catch the seeds as they're removed from the flowers.

For plants like squash, peppers, pumpkins, or fruits with internal seeds, the seeds can be collected when they are cut open and then dried on paper towels.