Category Archives for Seed Saving

The Dirt on Saving Tomato Seeds: 3 Easy ways

Saving Tomato Seeds: 3 Easy ways

save tomato seedsTake a poll of all your family and friends and ask what vegetable would they would grow.  You will probably hear growing tomatoes as one of the most popular vegetable growing choices. It seems that most gardeners always brag about their tomatoes when asked about their progress of your their garden.

You might be one of those garden newbies who just planted your first tomato plant that you grabbed at the local hardware store or garden nursery.  Have you ever thought about actually growing tomatoes from seed?  It really is not too difficult to grow them from seed, so why not save the tomato seeds from one of your plants this year.

You have a few options on how you want to save tomato seeds.  All of these different ways to save tomato seeds are not too difficult to do.  In fact, one of the ways is so simple that it takes no effort on your part to do it.   The 3 ways are 1. Do nothing and let nature save them for you, 2. Put some more effort into it, to save the seeds, and the last option is to 3. Maximize your chances of saving the seeds for multiple years.  These tips can be applied to any type of tomato such as cherry, roma, big beef, brandywine and many more different tomato varieties.  Let’s get into the dirt of saving tomato seeds and saving them like a Green Thumb Gardener.

Find out some reasons on why saving tomato seeds will help you craft the perfect BLT sandwich. Click to Tweet

Tomato Seed Saving Benefitssaving tomato seeds for next year

Ever see a BLT sandwich where you see this draped over the side, almost blood red thick tomato.  You might get on your phone and google, “Best tomato plant ever”.  You check the search and notice that there is an endless supply of tomato varieties.  You quickly realise this is going to take some time finding the perfect one.  Is it worth it?  Let’s find out some reasons on why saving tomato seeds will help you craft the perfect BLT sandwich.

  • Endless variety of tomatoes – There are over 10,00 tomato cultivars if you can believe that.  There are probably way more than that if you also count the cross-pollinated tomato plant varieties.  You may find that your are challenged to build your tomato seed catalog.  Well, you will have a diverse bounty of tomato varieties to choose from.
  • Starting from Seed can be expensive – Tomato seed packets prices range anywhere from $1-$7.95 depending on the number of seeds you want.  You might be a bold gardener and want to grow 7 different varieties in your garden each year and cycle through the types.  Well, saving seeds each season will help defray the cost every year.  You can even trade seeds for free if you really want to really build a collection and save more money.
  • Adapted to your garden – You know the old saying, “Only the strong will survive”.  Selecting the best plants and tomatoes from your actual garden will ensure that you get the best and healthiest plants.  These tomatoes thrived in your mini ecosystem, so their offspring should also perform the same or better as nature’s woven secret is to adapt, survive, and thrive

What About Supermarket Tomato Seeds?

You might be tempted after reading this to go out and save some tomato seeds from one of the supermarket tomatoes.  In fact, it is encouraged to try some of tomato seed saving methods with one of your glorious supermarket tomatoes.  You need to understand that these types of tomatoes may not cultivate in to healthy tomato producing plants next year if grown from seed.  Trust me, I have tried experiments of this, so I want to save you the trouble and disappointment.  The plants start out great and look like every other healthy tomato plant.  You quickly realise no tomato flowers are forming that after months of watering them and feeding them.

You need to stick with certain types of tomatoes to ensure you get what you want.  It is not recommended using any from the supermarket to start this even if it is organic.  Commercially grown tomatoes are usually not one the tastiest tomatoes.   They are grown to be transported and usually picked when they are just a shade of color to allow them to ripen later.  Your more high end supermarkets and farmers market may have the right type of tomato you need, but why chance it.

Get any of these types of tomato plants or seeds below to plant in your garden to ensure you will have success growing tomatoes from seeds.

  1. Heirloom tomatoes–  Wikipedia defines them  as an “..old cultivar of a plant used for food that is grown and maintained by gardeners and farmers, particularly in isolated or ethnic minority communities of the Western world.”  These plants may have been passed down from generation to generation.  Maybe you can pass these on to your children someday.  Wouldn’t that be a cool story.
  2. Open-pollinated tomatoes – plants that are pollinated with the same variety -either by itself or another plant.  Roughly, these tomato plants stay the same and have the same characteristics through each planting.

Take note that heirloom tomato plants are always open-pollinated, but not all open-pollinated plants are heirloom.  Say that 3 times fast.

Tomato Seed Saving Tactic#1

Let nature take its course and leave the tomato plants to reproduce on its own.  – This has got to be the easiest & laziest method of them all.  There are so many different task that you need to do in the fall time and it is starting to get cold and maybe rainy out.  There is nothing wrong with just leaving a few tomatoes out there and see what happens next year.  We all have a few tomatoes that never make it to the plate and escape our gripe.

This tomato seed technique is for:

  • Lazy gardener– no shame in just letting things will they fall, let nature take over saving your tomato seeds.
  • Busy gardener– you might have a huge garden and there are so many other tasks you need to do other than saving that one variety of plant.

Tomato Seed Saving Tactic #2

Cut your tomatoes open and just scoop out the seeds.  Let them dry out and save them as they are. You can try this method as it is just a step up from the first one.  We have grown a few plants like this and they do just fine despite what garden experts say.  The only caveat to this is they can spoil, they smell, and only last maybe a year or so.  You might want to use this option only if you plant them next year and have a ton of them.

This tomato seed technique is for:

  • Part time gardener– You love growing tomatoes, but ain’t got time to follow thru.  Scoop, dry, and save the tomato seeds.
  • Short-term gardener – You know that you will grow this same tomato plant next year because you loved it so much
Full time Gardener..You garden like a BOSS and certainly have your Green Thumb Click to Tweet

Tomato Seed Saving Tactic #3

Cut your tomatoes open, scoop out the seeds, ferment them, rinse and dry them. Boom, you are done.  This way really only has one more step which is to let the tomato seeds ferment for a few days. You basically just scoop them out and put into a jar, add a little bit of water and let them sit around for a few days until they smell pretty sour.

The reason that you take this extra step is because the tomato is encased in a gelatinous sack.  This gel inhibits the seed germination.  This process also has the added benefit of killing many tomato diseases.  This extra step will also allow you to save your seeds for many years if stored properly.

This tomato seed technique is for:

  • Full time gardener– You garden like a boss and certainly have your green thumb.  You have patience and love to save your tomato seeds every year.  You probably have a fairly large collection of seeds
  • Prepper – You garden like your life depended on it.  Nothing goes to waste and you save as much as you can because it is just insurance needed for survival.

As you can see, it could not be any simpler saving tomato seeds with any of these tactics.  The most important tactic is just the one you do to get saving seeds.  Let us know in the comments below what type of gardener you are.

Harvesting Sunflower Seeds – Saving Sunflower Seeds (Easy Way)

Harvesting Sunflower Seeds – Saving Sunflower Seeds – We show you an easy way to harvest your sunflower seeds that you can plant or eat. Saving sunflower seeds is a great way to learn some seed saving techniques.  Best seeds saving envelopes can be found here

In this video Jeremy Starke from Green Thumb Gardener shows you how to harvest sunflower seeds for saving. Saving sunflower seeds will allow you to replant sunflowers for next year or you can eat certain varieties. These techniques can be applied for the giant mammoth sunflowers or the small & medium sized sunflowers. Get your kids involved in harvesting sunflower seeds. It one of the easier ways to save seeds.

You can harvest the sunflower seeds either 2 different ways:

  1. Cut off the sunflower head after the flower dies back and then scrape off the sunflower seeds. You would need to let the sunflower seeds dry out a bit after you harvest them.
  2. Cut the sunflower head off and let it dry out in the sun. This is the lazy way to harvest sunflower seeds. The sunflower seeds will easily pop out once it is completely dried.

QUESTION- Have a question about harvesting sunflower seeds or saving sunflower seeds to plant next year? Post in the comments section below! Saving sunflower seeds could not be easier to do.

Regrow Lettuce: How to Harvest & Store Lettuce Seeds (2 Easy Ways)

Regrow Lettuce: How to Harvest & Store Lettuce seeds.

This is a simple way to collect & save seeds to regrow lettuce for the next season or later. You can find the envelopes that I store & save the lettuce seeds in here

Check out another video about this here

Lettuce or Lactuca sativa shows signs of going to seed when it starts to taste more bitter and starts to grow a long stalk.  This is the perfect time to think about regrowing lettuce. You can easily turn the bitterness in a signal to harvest lettuce seeds. You will love to store lettuce seeds to plant them next season.

Growing romaine lettuce from seeds is a cool way to introduce your children to gardening. The romaine lettuce plant is really easy to start from seed. This video will show you how easy it is to save seeds & teach your children to do this.

QUESTION- Have a question about how to regrow lettuce or how to harvest & store lettuce seeds? Post in the comments section of this post!

In this video, Jeremy Starke from Green Thumb Gardener shows you a really simple way to regrow lettuce. He goes over how to harvest & store Lettuce seeds. This is a simple way to collect seeds to regrow lettuce for the next season or later. Seed Saving lettuce is a great way to start your seed saving adventures. These seeds saving tips are really easy to follow so you can regrow lettuce next year.

Let me know what other way vegetables you want to see taught about seed saving.  What types of lettuce seeds are you saving for next season?  Let me know in the comments below.  Please also SHARE this lettuce seeds saving post with anyone whom loves to save seeds.  This is such a simple way to save seeds.

How to save Lettuce Seeds: Simple Guide to Collecting Seeds

lettuce seed stalksHow to save lettuce seeds: Simple Guide to Collecting Seeds

Have you always wanted to know how to save lettuce seeds?  Did you just harvest romaine lettuce from your garden?  Do you want to continue to grow the lettuce that you just picked?  It is so easy to collect and save lettuce seeds that you will be amazed that you didn’t start sooner.  The summer days are much longer as June & July peaks.  All of a sudden the leaves start to taste a little bitter & the lettuce plant may bolt.  Well, it is time for the lettuce plant to start reproducing itself.

The steps on how to save lettuce seeds could not be any easier.  You need to first look for the seed heads to form.  There will be a long stalk that will extend up from the plant.  It will start to flower after it has formed.  The flower heads will soon start to form white fluffy chaff much like you see dandelion flowers.  This is when you want to look for signs that the lettuce flower head is starting to dry out.  You can pick the heads once they have dried.  You will rub each flower head until it crumbles.  The seeds will be small long pods that you can separate from the chaff using various methods.  You can plant these now or store them for next season.

You are in luck because this guide will share with you how to save lettuce seeds.  We will take you through all the steps so you can harvest and store lettuce seeds for next year or season.  This will help you save money, so you don’t have to purchase another packet of lettuce seeds. (Well..we all know what happens when the seed catalogs come in..)

The summer days are much longer as June & July peaks. All of a sudden the leaves start to taste a little bitter & the lettuce plant may bolt. Well, it is time for the lettuce plant to… Click to Tweet

Benefits of saving lettuce seeds for next year or season:

You might be thinking why would anyone want to save lettuce seeds? Here are a few reason why saving lettuce seeds:

  • You save some green money at the store for your lettuce greens.  Sure, lettuce prices are not exactly crazy high.  You may spend anywhere from $3-$4 for each lettuce head or small package of greens.  Surprisingly though, check out the organic selections.  They can be sometimes as high as $5.  It is not complicated to grow lettuce organically.  Seed packets start at $1-$2 for lettuce seeds.  The savings adds up after that.save lettuce seeds
  • Nutrition is all about color and variety.  Saving lettuce seeds will allow you to make your own blend of the best green for your plate.  You can make your own salad blend and add to it each year.  It couldn’t be any easier to save lettuce seeds for this reason alone.
  • Survival of the seed varieties is paramount these days.  Science has come a long way to make better producing, disease resistant plants.  Saving open pollinated and heirloom varieties of lettuce seeds will ensure that we keep our heritage alive and can pass these on to our future generations.  A legacy of lettuce leaves has a nice ring to it.
  • You begin to assemble a catalog of lettuce seeds.  Wouldn’t it be cool to come out to your porch and look at the different pots of lettuce plants and say.. “Hmm, which kind of lettuce do I want with my steak today?”  One plant can produce quite a bit of lettuce plants that can be saved each time very easily.
  • You do your part for the earth.  Hear me out on this as this sounds a little far fetched.  You are much better as using your resources than some large scale agriculture farms.  Sure, Big ag does their best, but when you scale up any operation there will still be a waste of resources.  You may water your plants with rain barrels or use your grass and leave clippings as compost.  You use less resources bringing from the farm to table.  All of these add up in using our resources wisely.
  • Successful plantings will produce much better off-spring.  This means the seeds can slowly develop resistance to local diseases and insects over time.

Some things to be aware of prior collecting and saving lettuce seeds

  • You want to make sure you are growing heirloom or open pollinated lettuce seeds.  This insures that you won’t get some hybrid pollination.  you may be able to still collect seeds and grow them, but the chances of it being the pure breed lettuce variety you started with is low.  Here is a good example of an open pollinated variety: Parris Island Romaine Lettuce Seeds
  • There may be some cross pollination if you have several different varieties of lettuce located close to each.  The bees and other hairy pollinators can distribute different lettuce plant pollen.  oh..that means Buttercrunch Romaine Lettuce.
  • You can go about planting lettuce in a way that will produce the best offspring.  Trust me it is not that hard.  Lettuce plants are one of those plants that can flourish without much care unlike some other vegetables.
  • The only thing you may want to do is keep the different varieties separated if you want to save them that way.   Most of the head lettuce varieties are best to be grown this way, but the leaf salad bowl varieties are best grown in a mix.
  • Keep in mind that you can always let a few plants go to seeds by not harvesting them.  Experiment with different ways of growing these and see how each plant forms heads.

When is it time to harvest lettuce seeds

This depends on the variety of the lettuce.  Some varieties of lettuce will be less heat tolerant meaning they will start to flower as soon as it gets warmer in the summer months.  Really, it is due to the lengthening of the days which coincides with the warmer summer months in the northern hemisphere.  Lettuce seeds packets may highlight the lettuce varieties that are slow to bolt.  This means that they will stick around a little longer than some plants.  It is good to have a variety of lettuce plants in your garden for this very reason.

There will be a point that the lettuce plant will start to send up a long stalk from the center of the plant.  The lettuce leaves may start to taste a little bitter because the plants energy shifts from producing leaves to forming its offspring.  There are some head lettuce varieties that may need some help to form the stalk by slitting top of the head, so do your research on the particular variety you for more details.

The flower head will begin to flower.  They typically form in heads of 10-25 individual florets with each seeds being encapsulated in one floret.  Usually they all open at the same time in the morning hours for the pollinators.  Check out the video below to see an example of these lettuce florets.

Steps on how to save lettuce seeds:

  1. Look for the lettuce flowers that are white and look nice and fluffy.  (think of the dandelion weeds you may see on lawns). It is ideal to select the lettuce flower heads that are really dry.
  2. Next, you want to pull the actual lettuce flower pods off.  The lettuce flower heads are ready if just the pod comes off and not the stalk.  This means they are ready to store.  Pull them off and put in a bag or some container for the next steps.
  3. Crush and or roll the collection of seeds pods in a bag.  This will separate the seeds from the pods.
  4. Put all the seeds on a plate of some kind.  It helps if you have a dark plate so you can see the seeds much better.
  5. Gently blow the chaff or the seed pod remains.  You can vibrate the plate to help the chaff get airborne while you blow.  You could also use a fan on low setting and put your plate in front of it.  The viable lettuce seeds should remain on the plate and any dead seeds and lettuce pod chaff should blow off.  You are left with lettuce seeds that can be planted right away or stored for future plantings next year.

Here is a video that shows you the exact steps of how to save lettuce seeds:

As you can see, learning how to save lettuce seeds is a simple and easy process.  You can learn to save lettuce seeds with your next batch of lettuce plants.  You may want to start collecting and saving other vegetables seeds if you found this easy to do.

Bolting Lettuce- Saving lettuce seeds (Its a good thing)

Bolting Lettuce- Saving lettuce seeds.

This is a simple way to determine if your lettuce is bolting and getting ready to seed. This is helpful if you want to know how to save lettuce seeds. How to know when your lettuce is bolting or going to seed. Romaine Parris Island Cos seeds can be found here: https://amzn.to/2LI7IyI

QUESTION- Have a question about saving lettuce seeds? Post in the comments section of this blog!

Check out a lettuce seed saving guide here