In this article, you are going to learn how to harvest seeds from your garden +techniques on how to save your seeds safe.
Collecting and saving your own seeds from one-year of gardening and the plant the following year or adapt them as the main variety is an old gardening technique to preserve quality seeds.
At first time, harvesting and saving seeds from your garden may look like putting extra effort in your garden, however, the result you as a gardener can benefit from is extremely rewarding and can also lower what you are spending in buying seeds each year.
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For instance, if you are growing vegetables in your garden, you can harvest and save the varieties of these vegetables.
Moreover, saving seeds and replanting seeds in the same climatic conditions can help those seeds to fully adapt to the climatic conditions. They also develop resistance to the common pests and diseases of that area.
Harvesting the seeds is simple, however, there are some essential harvesting techniques and methods you need to understand and follow if you want to harvest and save quality seeds.
Seeds Harvesting Techniques/Methods
There are different harvesting techniques, which are frequently used during seed collection. And they include:
- Hand Picking of whole Fruits: this is the most basic seeds harvesting method where seeds are collected by hand through plucking.
This harvesting technique or method has many benefits: this is because the source of seeds and viability is not compromised. Additionally, the seed quantity when harvested using this method is high, which can be saved for long-term conservation.
The plucking and picking technique of seed harvesting can only be done when the seeds you want to harvest are fruits and their colors and texture can easily be seen and differentiated by the eye.
This technique is also useful when the fruits can be distinguished when good and damaged or mature and immature fruits mix. It can also be used when the Gardner can carry a bucket around the waist and roam for collecting and picking fruits.
2. Pruning Clusters of Fruits: This method or technique of seed harvesting is usually used to collect seeds from trees that produced fruits in clusters.
To use this method, use your tree pruners or secateurs to cut clusters of fruits. However, before using this method of harvesting seeds, there are some conditions you need to consider, and these are: you need to check the fruits for ripeness and damage before adding them to the collection.
This method of harvesting seeds is more effective when fruits are clustered together in the distant part of the tree branches. And the seeds are far beyond the reach of collectors, which can be collected by using tree-pruners.
3. Shaking Branches: this is another harvesting seeds technique or method, which involves careful shaking of branches to dislodge the best available seeds and the dislodged seeds are collected by spreading out a tarpaulin or held underneath the parent tree.
It is recommended that you shake gently. Because this is the only method that ensures only mature and pure seeds are dislodged.
Shaking is used when collecting dehiscence fruits that are medium to large in size. Shaking is also used for collecting seeds with irritant plumes and on a ground-level suitable for tarpaulin use.
4. Stripping Entire Seed-heads: This is another method of seed harvesting that is widely used to harvest seeds related to grasses and other plant species with seed-heads.
The harvesting technique is carried out by grasping the seed-head at the base with a hand glove and gently slide your hand upwards. Then, the seeds will be dislodged.
However, this method may require further harvesting because the seeds are dislodged sometimes together with many impurities and immature seeds.
These immature seeds and impurities can be required to be removed in order to leave only the pure quality seeds.
The stripping method of seed harvesting is employed in an area where the seeds have seed-heads and they are the only plant species grown on the garden plot.
5. Bagging Seed-heads: Bagging Seed-heads is a technique of seed harvesting normally employed in a garden plot where is easy access and also seeds can be lost if left uncollected.
You need to find a mesh bag and well-tied loosely over pre-disposal seed-head seeds that shed are collected in the mesh bag immediately. Then, the seeds are harvested timely. Bagging is only possible on a small scale. However, it can’t be said that it will not be possible but the method when used in a large-scale production can, can be very expensive.
6. Collecting from Ground: this technique of seed harvesting involves collecting seeds or fruits that have fallen to the ground. However, these seeds and fruits are sometimes damaged by pests and diseased-pathogens.
Additionally, the seeds might have fallen to the ground for at least one year or more. These types of seeds are aged and their viability may have been loosened.
In general, this method of seed harvesting is not recommended as it can introduce damage and infected seeds, which are not viable.
Learn more about seeds harvesting techniques here
Conditions for Harvesting Seeds
While harvesting seeds from your garden, there are some considerations or conditions you need to put in mind. You do not need to harvest hybrid seeds. This is because hybrid seeds are produced cultivars, which will not grow true to type when you replanted the next year.
Moreover, it is also good to pay extra attention and harvest only the seeds that are fully ripe and healthy. You need to harvest seeds that are disease-free, which when planted the following year can produce quality yield.
Read also: How Does A Plant Grow Step By Step
When are Seeds ready to Harvest?
This solely depends on which type of seed you are growing in your garden. Some seeds can be harvested when the fruits ripe while other seeds can be harvested when the pods are dry and brown.
For instance, the seeds of bean plant can be harvested when the pods began to turn brown and dry, and also when the pods started to open or break on their own.
How to Harvest Seeds from Flowers
Most flowers’ seeds are ready when the flowers finished blooming and their petals have fallen.
Here is step by step guide on how to harvest seeds from flowers:
Remove the flower head by cutting using scissors. Then, harvest the mature seeds from the flower head and place on a paper bag. Leave the seeds in a paper bag for like one week. Remove the husks from the seeda , this can help keep the seeds clean. To save the seeds, place them in a plastic or wrap them first in an envelope and seal. Put the seeds in an airtight container and save in a cool, dry, and dark place.
How to Harvest Seeds from Tomatoes
Collect tomatoes that are mature, juicy, and fresh off the vine. After collecting the fruits, you can simply cut and open the tomato fruits. Then, squeeze the fleshy part onto a container such as plate. The flesh part or pulp needs to be allowed to dry before you can separate put the seeds from the pulp.
Another way to harvest seeds from tomatoes is to cut the pulp and place into a container such as jar containing water. You are going to leave the tomatoes pulp in this container for about 5 days with timely gentle shaking.
After five days, skim the foamy fermented pulp off and the seeds will be left beneath the bottom of the jar. Then, you can easily collect and store your tomatoes seeds.
How to Harvest Seeds from Pepper
Harvesting pepper seeds from your own garden can be money saving task and at the same time preserve your favorite pepper variety.
As earlier explained, when you want to harvest seeds, always choose fully ripe and healthy plants and collect seeds from them.
Choose healthy pepper fruits with the most strong aroma and taste. Leave the fruits that you picked on the parent plant to finish ripening and become wrinkle.
If you want to harvest fertile pepper seeds, you need to allow the pepper seeds to mature or ripe completely. Then, when you observe that the pepper fruits are completely matured, remove the fruits from the parent plant and scoop out the seeds.
You need to carefully separate the damaged seeds from the good seeds after scooping them out. Then, spread out the good seeds on a clean paper to dry under a sunlight.
Ensure that the seeds are spread out of reach of children. While the seeds are drying under sun, ensure that you are turning them timely. This helps ensure that the bottom layer of seeds is also dried.
After 1-2 weeks, your pepper seeds must have dried. You can under that when the pepper seeds become brittle and don’t dent when bite.
Seeds harvesting from your garden can be rewarding and help you save seeds you like.
If you collecting and saving seeds from your garden, you need to go to market each to shop for seeds. And this reduce what you spend in the garden.
Harvesting the seeds is very simple. In this guide, we provided the basic techniques and methods for harvesting seeds.
Additionally, we went ahead to cite some examples on how to harvest seeds from flowers and some common vegetables.
We hope this article will be of help to you in understanding how to harvest seeds from your garden.
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