How to Save Heirloom Seeds
One of the reasons why you might buy heirloom seeds would be so that you can grow the plants associated with them year after year. In order to do this you must learn how to save the seed so that it will be available in the next growing season. This is easy to do once you’ve got your heirloom plants growing and thriving in a patch of land near you.
First, you’ll want to choose out your best, healthiest plants. Those plants have the genetic traits within the species that you’ll want to strengthen and preserve. You can use the other plants for food without worrying about what happens to the seeds.
Once you’ve chosen your best plants, wait for the fruit or vegetable associated with the seed to get fully ripened. You don’t want it to get spoiled, but you do want it ripe. Once it’s ripe harvest the fruit or vegetable. In some cases you might be able to eat the results after you separate the seed from the product.
You can get seeds out of an apple, tomato, or cucumber without spoiling the bulk of the food, after all, but if you eat a bean you’ve lost your seed.
Wash the seeds in a strainer to separate out any pulp or juices that might be attached to the seed. Next, get your seeds dry with the help of a cloth or a paper towel. Be gentle as you don’t want to damage more fragile seeds.
Once the seeds are dry you have a few options. You could keep them in a baby jar in the pantry or refrigerator.
You can even freeze them in Ziploc baggies until you are ready to plant the seeds next season. The cold actually helps give seeds a longer shelf life. In a pantry they might last up to 2 years. In the cold they could last 3-5. Where you choose to store your seeds would depend largely upon when you’d choose to plant them.
Make sure you label each bag or jar with the name of the seed and the planting instructions so you don’t get your garden all mixed up next year! Doing this also preserves the knowledge of how to best care for and profit from each plant in your particular care.
If something should happen to you, the food producer, your family would then still know how to make the seeds work for them. Agriculture, even back yard agriculture, is a science.
It’s simply not possible to get good results if the person engaging in the activity doesn’t do the right things. Writing it all down also keeps you from having to remember everything in the next growing season, too.
If you do this year after year, your initial investment into heirloom seeds will become a renewable resource that pays for itself in very, very short order.
Heirloom seeds are almost a waste if you don’t seed save, as you’d be contributing to the death of genetic diversity currently plaguing the planet.
Take care of your seeds, and your seeds will take care of you.