If your gardening area at home is like mine, then you probably have a small stockade of seeds. And some of them are probably past their prime. I usually have wonderful intentions when I buy those seed packets (like fields of butternut squash!), but great ideas fall to the wayside when life gets busy. As I’ve tried to be more mindful of what I truly need, this has translated into using what I already have. And seeds from my very own garden is a great start to being less wasteful and more self-sufficient.
Also, one of the more expensive parts of planting a garden each year can be buying seeds and plants. This can be especially true if you prefer heirloom varieties or organic seeds. But if you’ve have a little patience and a spare jar, you can easily save your own seeds from a variety of plants. This year, I purchased two Jellybean tomato varieties from our local cooperative extension plant sale. They grew so well (are still growing in fact!) that I knew I wanted to save some seeds for replanting next year. It’s a win for saving money and using what I have! The process is simple.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Ripe tomato (I used 2 since jellybean tomatoes are small)
Envelope (or a cool, dry place to store your seeds)
What to do:
- Cut open the ripe tomato, and gently squeeze or scoop out the seeds and pulp into a clear jar.
- Add an inch of water above the seeds and pulp and place a lid on the jar.
- Over the course of two or three days, gently swirl the water in the jar several times a day. You will notice that the pulp releases from the seeds, and they settle to the bottom of the jar.
- Drain water out of jar, and spread seeds onto paper towel. Allow to dry completely.
- Store in an envelope or baggie. (I use simple mail envelopes.) Don’t forget to label the envelope, so you know what’s inside. Keep seeds in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to plant your seeds in the spring!
And that’s all there is to it. Saving seeds was not a new concept to our grand parents and great grandparents, but it seems to be less common these days. Save those dollars you’d be spending on a new package of seeds and instead use what’s growing in your very own garden.