Collect and store seeds
Collecting and storing seeds gives you the opportunity to inexpensively increase the plants in your garden and allows you to delay sowing until a more suitable time when conditions are favourable for germination. By collecting and storing seeds this year, you can already look forward to your garden in the next. Follow this easy guide to show you exactly how to grow your favourite plants again, and again, and again.
1. Collect seed pods or mature fruits
Collect mature seed from seedheads or ripe fruit, preferably from plants that are healthy and vigorous. It is all about the correct timing - seeds must be collected before they open and shed their content, but should not be harvested when immature as they will not produce viable seed. Ripe seedheads are often indicated by a change in colour from green to black, brown or red. Tip: Pick seedheads from non-fruiting plants on a dry day to speed up the drying process.
2. Extract the seeds
When the seedheads have dried, extract seeds from the pod, cone or capsule by gently shaking, or crushing it. Scoop out seeds from fleshy fruits using a spoon.
3. Clean the seeds
Remove any material (chaff) attached to the seed as this material is prone to rotting or moulding and could potentially harbour pests and diseases. If you are extracting seeds from fleshy fruits, rinse away the pulp in cold water and leave the seeds out to dry on a paper towel.
4. Place in an airtight container
When the seeds have dried and there is no sign of excess moisture, place the seeds in an airtight container. Excess humidity can cause the seed to deteriorate or die due to fungal disease or rotting so, to remove any excess moisture, store the seeds with cinnamon (a natural desiccant).
5. Label it
Label the container with the plant name date of harvest.
6. Store it
Place the container in a cool, dark location. Use the seeds in the following season - every year the seed quality will deteriorate and fewer plants will grow from those seeds. Happy saving!