When and how do I harvest seeds to grow next year?


When and how do I harvest seeds to grow next year?


The late growing season is a good time to collect seeds from vegetables and flowers.  Seed saving allows gardeners to preserve heirloom varieties or their favorite plants from year to year. 

Collect the Seed When Mature

The precise timing of seed harvest will vary from species to species.  Collect seed after it’s been allowed to reach full maturity.  Just as flowers and fruit form at different times on the plant, seed will mature at different rates.  Collect individual pods or fruit that contain seeds throughout the growing season as they mature.  When seeds are in dry husks or pods, leave them on the plant to dry as long as possible.  If conditions become too wet or cold, entire plants can be harvested and hung to allow seeds to fully mature.

Collect Seed from the Best Plants

Harvest seed from the best performing plants in the garden. Save seed from the plants with the best color, tastiest fruit, most-desirable form or growth habit, and that exhibit the fewest disease issues.  This will ensure that future generations will perform well in your garden and produce the most desirable plants, flowers, and fruits.

Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on . The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.