As a gardener on a budget, one of the biggest ways I save money in the garden is by growing tons of plants from seed every year. But I don’t go out and buy all of those seeds year after year, I collect as many seeds from my garden as I can. Then, not only do I save those seeds for next years garden, I use many of them as currency to trade for seeds I wasn’t able to collect from my garden, or from plants I don’t have.
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Fall is a great time for collecting and storing seeds to use for next years garden, and you can find free garden seeds all over the place. You can harvest seeds from many different types of annuals, perennials, herbs and vegetables.
Get started collecting free garden seeds
If you’ve never collected seeds from the garden before, start with the easy stuff. Here’s a list of some of the easiest seeds to collect from the garden to get you started…
- Vegetables – beans, radishes, peppers, peas, lettuce
- Herbs – basil, dill, cilantro, chives, anise hyssop
- Annuals – snapdragon, petunia, cosmos, sunflower, morning glory, marigold
- Perennials – hollyhock, black-eyed Susan, gaillardia, butterfly weed, hibiscus
Saving seeds from the garden
Once the flowers start to fade on your favorite plants, leave them on the plant so they can form seeds. Allow the flower head or seed pod to dry out completely before removing it from the plant. Seeds are ready to harvest once the flower head or seed pod is brown and dried out. Some seed pods may even split open, and the seeds will come out easily when the pods are disturbed.
To harvest the seeds, simply pinch or clip off the entire pod or flower head and drop it into a small plastic container or bucket. Shake the bucket or break open the flower head/seed pod to collect the seeds. Don’t forget to label the seeds as you collect them.
Storing your seeds
Spread the seeds on a paper towel, screen or newspaper and allow them to dry out completely before storing. Don’t allow them to sit in a plastic bag or container, or they may get moldy. Once they are dry, you can store seeds in a plastic container, paper bag or envelope until spring. Seeds can be harvested as long as the weather cooperates (even in the snow).
Collecting seeds is fun, it’s easy, and it’s a great way to save money. You’ll be able to grow your favorite plants from year to year for free. It’s also a fun way to experiment with growing plants from seed, and share a part of your garden with your friends. I don’t know about you, but I will be busy over the next several weeks collecting seeds from my garden.
What favorite seeds do you collect from your garden every year?