Saving Seeds: 101

Last time I talked about growing your own vegetables. In order to do so, you could either buy the seeds each year or save the seeds from the previous harvest.

Savings seeds isn't hard. However, it does require a few days to do. Luckily for us, it only requires a few minutes of attention a day.

First thing to do when saving seeds is to find a strong candidate to be the source of your seeds. A lot of people suggest the best looking vegetable grown. Personally, I just grab a few of the most ripe looking vegetables in our garden.

Saving the seeds from a yellow tomato.
For tomatoes, you need to slice the tomato and dump the slimey goop into a glass container. This goop contains the tomato seeds.

Once we have all the goop in the container, we need to add some water. We don't need a lot of water, but we need enough for the goop to dissolve away.

After the water is added, we just need to stir the water a bit and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. I use an elastic band to keep the wrap in place. I also poke a hole in the plastic wrap to allow the contents to breathe.

Now that the mixture is prepped, we need to find a suitable place to put it. If the weather is sunny, you can put the mixture on a window sill. I place the mixture on top of the fridge. As long as the location is warm, it is a suitable place for the mixture.

For the next three days, you need to allow the mixture to rot. This is why I suggest putting the mixture in a glass container. It is easier to clean a glass container of rot than a plastic one. You may also need to stir the contents of the container each day. Just hold your breath when you do it.

Finally, on the third day, the mixture should be ready. You'll know because the mixture looks really bad and smells equally worse. Just use a strainer to separate the liquid from the seeds and dump the seeds on a paper towel or coffee filter. Now you just have to let the seeds dry up. Generally, I wait a week for the seeds to dry.

When the seeds are dry, you need to store them somewhere safe. I use a paper envelope. If the seeds still contain a little moisture and you store them in a plastic container, there is a chance the seeds could get moldy.

That's it for tomato seeds.

Spicy pepper seeds are much easier to save. Simply pick a pepper that has been allowed to rippen, slice the pepper open, and take the seeds. Allow the seeds one week to dry and voila! I stored my seeds in a paper envelope as well.

A word of caution before attempting to save the seeds from a spicy pepper. Do NOT use your bare hands. I learned that the hard way. If you do use your bare hands, don't touch your face. I also learned that the hard way. Ouch!

If you forget to put on gloves prior to saving the spicy pepper seeds, then your hands will feel like they are on fire. It appears that washing your hands with dish detergent or soap will not help. (This didn't help me. Ouch, ouch, ouch!) Seems the oils in the spicy pepper are destroying the oils in your skin. This is the reason for the burning sensation. After a quick Google search, it seems not much will help. However, rubbing olive oil over the burning may help relieve the burning sensation a little. It helped a little in my case.

Better than nothing.

Fortunately for me, I didn't rub my eyes with my hands. Just don't do it. I'm not sure how you would relieve yourself if you did. I don't imagine pouring olive oil over your eyes is recommended.

That's it for saving seeds. Last year we saved the seeds from the pumpkin which is why we had pumpkin this year. I'm sure wifey wants us to save seeds from a squash or something.


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