Seed Saving for Food Security and Cost Cutting 13

Seed saving is something I have done kind of intermittently in the past, but I’m trying to do more it. With so many questionable seed sources these days, I think it’s a good idea.

Saving seeds from our favorite vegetables allows me to maintain a continuous supply of heirloom seeds for my own use, plus I can share or trade the seeds with others, keeping these plants in cultivation.

I’ve successfully saved seeds from veggies like basil, daikon, lettuce, and radish, as well as flower seeds like zinnia, marigold, and nasturtium.

The technique varies a bit from veggie to veggie, but allowing one or two plants to go to seed is a good idea if you’d like to save some money on seeds and continue to have a steady source of seeds to plant.

Seed saving is easy and it allows you to maintain a continuous supply of heirloom or open-pollinated seeds, thus increasing your food security and decreasing your garden expenses.

Tree collards in flower.

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What does that mean, though, letting veggies go to seed? It means that you’re allowing the plant to complete its life cycle rather than harvesting before it has a change to do so.

A vegetable plant’s sole purpose is to regenerate. Most of them do so by creating seed to perpetuate the life cycle, but we often harvest vegetables before they have a chance go to seed.

Saving seeds from your garden

Instead of pulling that radish or lettuce for lunch, leave it in the ground and allow it to flower. For root crops and greens, the flowers are typically followed by pods.

When the pods get fat and look like they’re starting to dry out, it’s time to pull the plant and let the seed pods thoroughly dry.

Hang them in the eaves, tuck them into a container; just be sure to put them someplace where they’ll stay cool and dry.

Seed saving is easy and it allows you to maintain a continuous supply of heirloom or open-pollinated seeds, thus increasing your food security and decreasing your garden expenses.

Radish, green seed pods.

Once the pods are thoroughly dried out, break them open to reveal the next generation of seeds.

Seed saving is easy and it allows you to maintain a continuous supply of heirloom or open-pollinated seeds, thus increasing your food security and decreasing your garden expenses.

Daikon, dry seed pods.

When saving seeds from plants that produce fruit (rather than leaves or edible roots), the seeds are inside the fruit itself.

Think about peas and green beans. Shelling peas have fully formed peas — seeds — inside. Green beans are most tender when harvested young, but left to mature, those green beans will produce beans that look suspiciously like the green bean seeds you planted.

Pumpkins, cucumbers, and squash have visible seeds inside. If you intend to save seeds from these crops, allow the fruit to mature completely, which will in turn allow the seeds to mature.

To save these seeds, separate them from the pods or the flesh of the vegetable and allow them to dry.

Hybrid vs. heirloom seeds

If you’re interested in saving some of your garden seeds, note that heirloom seeds or open-pollinated seeds will “come true” from year to year.

In other words, you’ll end up with a plant with the same characteristics from year to year.

This is not true with hybrid seeds. Hybrid seeds may very well sprout, but certain qualities that may have been valuable in the first generation might be lost in subsequent generations.

More Seed Saving Resources

Have done any seed saving? What have you had the most luck with?

Seed saving is something gardeners have been doing forever. It's a great way to maintain a continuous supply of heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. Instead of depending on the nursery or your favorite seed catalog every year, you can save seeds from crops you grow and plant them again the following year.  #garden #foodsecurity #growingfood

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13 thoughts on “Seed Saving for Food Security and Cost Cutting

  • Sheryl

    Interesting. I never thought about doing this, but seeing how simple it is, why not?

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Some types of seeds are simpler than others, but for the easy ones? Why not?

  • Linda

    I have saved butternut squash, marigold and crocus seeds with success. I also compost the lazy way, directly in the garden alot so I get loads of cherry tomatoe plants. I call them uninvited guests but are most welcome to visit me each year. I never have to buy cherry tomatoe plants and I share them with anyone intested in having them in their gardens!

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Crocus? Interesting! Yes, we have a fair amount of accidental seedlings here, too. Tomatoes, papaya, and passion fruit are popping up all over.

  • Melanie @ Frugal Kiwi

    I’ve saved some heirloom pepper seeds this year and plan on planting a lot more heirlooms next year for seed saving reasons. I don’t want to spend money on buying seeds year after year when I can save mine from the year before.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      I’m going to try to save tomato seeds for the first time this year. There’s a whole fermenting process that goes along with those, but I think it will be fun to try.

  • MyKidsEatSquid

    Gorgeous pictures. I’m not much of a gardener (just a wannabe) but my neighbor who does told me to keep my seeds in the fridge. These were seeds I’d purchased at the store–but is that true that seeds need to be kept cold?

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      I keep all of my seeds in the fridge. They seem to last longer this way.

  • Jennifer Margulis

    Thank you for this! I’m worried about where seeds are coming from and I’ve seen these seeds in my garden but sort of ignored them instead of actually saving them. I want to do this too!

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      It’s a job kids would be thrilled to have. (I can actually remember emptying dry seed pods off wild radishes when I was a girl – just for fun!)

  • Melanie Salikin

    I began my seed saving just a couple years ago.. I have lots more to learn, for i want to grow, grow, grow.. and have lots of my own seeds.. there is great satisfaction being out in the garden planting the seeds and knowing they are our own.. then to eat the food that is given from that seed.. brings my heart to smiles.. this year we have planted a few things out there in our above ground beds for veggies.. I wish you all a wonderfully fun growing season, and fantastic harvests! Cheers! xo