Saving and Storing Vegetable Seed - Knowledgebase Question

Shelby, NC
Question by hamy
January 8, 2000
Some of the packs of seeds I've ordered (tomato, okra, peppers, etc.) contain thirty or more seeds. I don't need to plant this many. How can I best save some seeds for next year? Also, can I simply save some seeds directly from the inside of the pepper for instance? What is the best method for doing this?


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Answer from NGA
January 8, 2000

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Generally, it's best to store seeds in airtight containers (baby food jars and film canisters are great) in a cool, dark place where the temperature doesn't fluctuate very much - a shelf in the basement is a good choice. Be sure to label and date the jars to prevent future mysteries! If these are seeds you've collected, make sure they are completely dry, or they may mold in storage. As seeds age, their germination rate drops. Some seeds remain viable for many years, and others really aren't worth saving.

It's not usually worthwhile to save seeds from hybrid varieties, since the next generation won't necessarily produce the same quality of plants and fruit. If you want to save seeds from your vegetable garden, allow the fruit to fully ripen, almost to the rotten stage, then scrape out the seeds and let them dry in an airy place. Once the seeds are completely dry, put them in airtight containers and store them in a cool, dark location.

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