Seed Saving Tips: Harvesting Heirloom Garden Seeds for Next Year

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes


Sowing vegetable seeds in the spring and then harvesting and eating the fruits of your labor is a wonderful experience, but also an act of faith. Will they sprout? How many will survive? Will they taste the same as I remember?

Seed saving is a skill largely lost these days. With seed packages widely available, who needs to save seeds anymore? You can simply buy more in the spring, right? The problem with many common garden seeds is their origin as a hybrid. And many of these hybrid varieties have been bred for size, or resistance to a particular disease, and not for that old-time flavor.

Luckily for us, dedicated seed savers have been keeping the old open pollinated varieties alive that our grandparents enjoyed, which means that you can now plant and harvest the exact same vegetables in your garden.

One way to virtually guarantee that the seeds you sow will be around for you year after year is to harvest and save the seeds from your heirloom vegetables for next year's planting. Seed saving isn't that hard to do, but there are some things to remember when starting out.