ONCE you’ve made sure that your seeds are the right kind for saving (heirloom and open-pollinated, annuals, not cross-pollinated, fully ripe and from healthy plants), here are some simple steps to take to make sure they are stored properly for next season:
Clean and dry the seeds
When preparing seeds to save, you want to make sure that you wash off any residual parts of the vegetable flesh that might still be on them, like the stringy parts of squash and pumpkin, for example. And once the seeds are clean, lay them out on a tray to dry. This usually takes several weeks, depending on the size and variety of seed you are saving.
Note: It’s important to make sure that the seeds are fully dry before you store them otherwise they might rot.
Package the seeds
One option is to save the seeds in the original seed packets you bought earlier in the year if you saved them. Or, if you threw the packets away, you can easily use an envelope as a substitute packet.
Label the seeds
This step is an important one because, even if you think you know what each type looks like, by the time the next spring comes around there’s a good chance you might forget. You’ll want to write down the type of vegetable, the name of the specific variety, the date you packaged the seeds, and any information about how you grew the plants that you might want to remember for the following year.
Store the seeds in a cool, dry place
Once your seeds are all packaged, you’ll want to keep them in a place that’s cool and dry. The main thing you want to avoid is storing them in a place where there’s a lot of moisture or a place where there are dramatic fluctuations in temperature.
And that’s all there is to it! Once you’ve harvested and stored your seeds, you’ll be all set for planting your garden again next spring.