While harvesting your delicious allotment vegetables this year, think forward to next season and save some seeds from your healthiest plants. Seeds are the perfect way to save money and get another stock of your favourite vegetables!
Once sown vegetable seeds germinate quickly, and after time they can generate better crops because the saved seeds will adapt to the conditions in your garden or vegetable plot. Seeds are easily dropped from commercial seed lists, so keep your favourite varieties alive by collecting their seeds!
The simplest veg to grow from seeds is those where the part you eat is the part that produces the seed. Peas, tomatoes, lettuce and radish are easy to grow from seed and if you save seeds from your top plants, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Leave the seed on the plant to mature fully – when pods are papery dry and fruitfully ripe start collecting! Collect seeds from a range of plants, not just one for best results. Once collected and fully dried out, place your seeds in paper bags in cool, dry conditions. Keep for as long as shop-bought seeds and they should be able to germinate for up to three years.
Here are the easiest vegetable seeds to collect and sow:
Tomatoes are brilliant for seeds because they do not cross-pollinate. Wait until the fruit is completely ripe before picking. Simply cut the tomato in half and scoop the seeds out from the centre, place them on a paper towel and let them dry out.
Peas, like tomatoes, rarely cross-pollinate. Leave pods on the plants until they are papery and brown, then pick them and leave them to dry. Shell seeds, paying close attention in case any are damaged.
Follow the above instructions for shelling and drying.
Leave as many plants as you want from early sowing to flower. Let the long green seed pods turn brown and then harvest by shaking the stalks into a paper bag on a dry day. You’ll soon build up your own seed bank, most seeds will keep for up to three years so you don’t have to worry about using them at the first opportunity.
If you fancy growing different vegetables from seed, why not see if your friends, family or neighbours want to get involved with collecting seed too. Seed swapping is a brilliant, efficient way to save money and get fantastic new crops year after year. You’ll soon build up a valuable seed bank!
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