Vegetable gardening and home canning have had a resurgence, so it was only a matter of time before seed saving became the next new trend (of course, it’s not really new at all). Seed saving is really easy, at least for certain types of veggies. Right now all the arugula plants that I let go to seed are now presenting me with their easy-to-open seed pods:
I’ll just need to pop open the dried pods into a little envelope and I’ll have all the arugula seeds I need for my fall crop and beyond. Likewise with any string beans I let dry on the vine, either accidentally or on purpose. Cilantro seeds, aka coriander, are even easier to harvest. Just let the cilantro plant go to seed and dry out, and then pull the little balls off the seed stalk. I’ve also had great success saving tomato and pepper seeds by just letting some of the fruits dry out on the vine for a few months (or even over the winter) and then prying the seeds out of the leathery remains. Maybe not the most regimented way to do seed saving, but it works.
There’s also the method of just letting the seeds/fruit/pods fall into the soil and sprout up as volunteers the next year. One of my more robust-looking tomato plants this year is a volunteer that probably came from a red or orange cherry tomato I had planted in that corner last year. This year’s plant could have some genetic problems if it’s the parent were from an F1 hybrid – the offspring of hybrids can turn out a bit wonky. But I like to hope for the best.
If you’d like to learn more about seed saving, I just found out that Ecolocity DC is doing a seed saving workshop later this month.