I have been working on the collection of seeds from my plants. With the growth of the plants nearing their end, or at least before they go dormant for winter, many of my plants are putting out their seeds, ready to propagate themselves. Rather than allow this to be left to chance, I am spending a little time and energy collecting the seeds. Sure, the amount of energy I am expending in their collection is not really worth the effort. I acknowledge that seeds cost so little (some you can buy in inexpensive packs of 10,000 seeds), and that the trouble of collecting them is not worth the time. Despite this, I believe it is worth it… I am learning a valuable skill, seed collection. I am also ensuring that the seeds are not wasted. I will take them and plant them out so that I can continue my garden. Also, as I am still getting over my back injury, this will give me something to do towards preparedness and self sufficiency.
I have found that the easiest seeds to collect are my pea and bean seeds. The pods are just left on the vine till they dry out. Some books recommend taking them off before this point, and drying them indoors, or in specially designed driers. I find it much simpler to leave them till the pods are brown (or black for beans), papery and dry. I crack them open and collect the dried seeds for the next season.
Another seed that is very simple to collect is Parsley. These seeds dry out on the plant and can be collected by gently rubbing the seed heads together between your fingers. I hold a bucket underneath to capture them for storing. If any are too green or moist, I keep the whole lot in a glass jar on a window sill for a couple of weeks to allow them to dry.
I have taken to keeping some of my tomato seeds too. These are not as clean in the collecting as the other seeds. It can get a little messy and you need to allow them to dry. The process is simple, despite this. You cut open the tomato and scrape out the seeds in the middle of the seed cavity (Locular Cavity, if you want the true term). The seeds grow on the placental tissue, with is the lighter, fleshy section of the tomato. Once removed, I like to wash the seeds in a mesh strainer, to remove the bulk of the tissue. The seeds are then laid out on paper or cardboard, in a dry area. After a few days, the seeds will be dried and ready to store.