How to save seeds?

Saving seeds is fun, rewarding and not difficult. And, even if you are growing in a small space, it is possible to save high quality seeds – you just need to choose the right crops to save from.

The videos with Peter Brinch below give you step by step seed saving instructions for those crops that are easy to save from in small spaces. Peter is a professional grower, seed saver and founder of Open Pollinated Seeds.  In his first video, Peter also explains the benefits of saving seeds and why we should all give it a go.

Why save seeds?

Peter discusses the benefits of saving some of your own seeds in the city.

Which seeds to save?

When growing in containers and small spaces, it is much easier to save good quality seeds from self-pollinating rather than cross-pollinating plants. Self-pollinators include tomatoes, chillies, runner and French beans, and lettuces. This is because, with self pollinating plants, all the genetic information the plants need is stored in one plant. This means you can save good quality seeds even if you only grow one plant – as long as that plant is strong and healthy (never save seeds from week or diseased plants).

Cross pollinated plants include beetroot, rocket, cabbages, and carrots. To save good quality seeds from these you need to grow a larger population – it varies but often you need 12 to 16 plants or more. If you have a small space, this can make them harder to save seeds from – although something like rocket (rucola) has small plants so is not impossible.

It’s also important to be aware that seeds saved from F1 hybrid varieties, will usually grow into plants that have different traits from their parents. For this reason, it’s only recommended to save seeds from open pollinated plants (natural varieties, not hybrids). How do you know if your plants are F1 hybrids? They should be marked as “F1” on the seed pack.

In the videos below, Peter explains which are the easy crops to save seeds from and gives you step by step instructions on how to do it.

How to save tomato seeds

Tomato seeds are one of the easiest crops to save from. And it’s brilliant to be able to have seeds from your favourite tomato to give to friends and family and to swap.

How to save chilli and pepper seeds

Another easy one to try

How to save bean seeds

French beans, runner beans and broad beans can all be saved in the same way. The trick is simply to leave a few beans to full mature on the plant, as Peter shows us.

How to save lettuce seeds

One lettuce, left to seed, will give you enough seed to have enough to give away to many of your friends and neighbours next year.

How to save mizuna seeds

You can find more information on seed saving on Peter’s website, Open Pollinated Seeds. 

Your Turn

If you’ve saved any seeds from your containers, I’d love to hear how you got on in the comments below.

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