With the end of gardening season quickly approaching, I find myself gathering and sorting seeds from the plants that did well in our garden this year. Saving seeds is easy, economical and gives you a certain sense of accomplishment when you get to see that plant go full circle…many times.
What I do is leave one or two plants in the ground until they go to seed (radishes, carrots, lettuce, etc). Since I have some beds that are permanent, I then shake the plant as I’m removing it so the loose seeds will fall into the garden bed. The seeds or pods are then left to dry completely if they have not already done so. I then plop myself at the kitchen table and separate the seeds from the rest of the plant, put them into a labeled envelope and keep them in the refrigerator until I need them in the spring. Here’s an example:
I left two radishes in the soil after the last harvest, letting the plant go to seed and then dry. I shook the plant as I was removing it from the ground to disperse any loose seeds and then kept the rest of the pods. This is how many pods I was able to gather…
I then simply pulled the pods apart and let those beautiful little seeds fall out. You can get quite a few from one single pod!
We certainly will not have to buy radish seeds in the spring. I may even print out some tags and give some to fellow gardeners. Wouldn’t it be great to know that your plants were growing in other gardens and feeding others?
And this is a picture of the full circle. Those are some of the radishes that appeared from the seeds that were shaken onto the ground. Can’t let a single seed be wasted!
Side note: This method works wonders with cilantro. I have only ever purchased one cilantro plant. After letting go to seed, I shake the seeds onto the ground and sure enough…new cilantro plants in the spring.
As for beans…simply let them on the vine until they dry up. You can then either use them as you would any other dry bean or plant them the following year. Once you figure out how each plant produces their seeds, you will find yourself keeping the seeds of all your favorite plants and in the process, becoming even more self sufficient. How great is that?!