At some point, many vegetable gardeners get curious about saving their own seeds. For some vegetables, such as lettuce, peppers, bean, peas and tomatoes, it’s pretty easy to do: Just avoid saving seeds from hybrid varieties, since their seeds won’t grow into the same variety as the mother plant.
For others vegetables, you’ll need to know more about their life cycles and how they’re pollinated before you try to save seeds. For example, vegetables in the squash and broccoli families can cross among varieties and sometimes among the types. Some vegetables are biennials, too, meaning you’ll need to overwinter the plants to get seed to form the second year. To demonstrate it all, I’ve selected 10 videos on seeds-saving.
Seed Savers Exchange is an organization with excellent, accurate information on seed-saving, so in addition to watching their two videos here, I recommend visiting their website and entire YouTube channel for more. They also cover seed-serving for flowers and herbs.
I grouped the videos in two categories; easy-to-save veggies and more complex-to-save veggies. I hope you enjoy the videos and consider giving seed-saving a try this fall.
Videos were selected and described by horticulturist and Vermont gardener Charlie Nardozzi, edibles editor for Good Gardening Videos.
“Saving Seeds from Beans, Peppers, Onions and More” by GrowVeg. This English video explains why you might save seeds and the easiest ones to save. Harder-to-save vegetables are reviewed in less detail. The video explains how to choose the best fruits/seed pods to save, and how to clean, dry and store the seeds.
“How to Save and Use Seeds from your Own Fruits and Vegetables” by GrowOrganic.” Trish gives a good description of the easiest seeds to save and covers the need to avoiding hybrid varieties and cross pollination from other varieties. She also reviews how to choose the best fruits to save. Trish cover saving tomato seeds in detail.
“Saving Seeds for Beginners Webinar” by Seed Savers Exchange Heritage Farm. The information in this 30-minute webinar on seeds-saving for beginners is so good, it’s the only webinar-on-video we’ve ever recommended at GGVIdeos. The speaker covers the history of Seed Savers Exchange and makes states the case for saving some of our own seeds. He then shows how to save seeds from tomatoes, beans and lettuce.
“How to Save True-to-Type Heirloom Tomato Seeds” by One Yard Revolution. Patrick covers saving tomato seeds in detail – heirlooms only (not hybrids) – including which heirlooms tend to cross-pollinate easily and need separation from each other. He also talks about the pollination process and how to isolate the flowers to get the correct variety saved, plus the fermentation process for cleaning tomato seeds and how to dry and store the seeds.
More Complex Seed-Saving
“How to Save True-to-Type Heirloom Cucumber Seeds“ by One Yard Revolution. In this video Patrick reviews which cucumber types will readily cross with each other and how to prevent varietal crossing to keep the variety you’re saving pure. He reviews, in detail, the anatomy of male and female blossoms and when and how to pollinate the blossoms by hand. Once they’re pollinated, he shows how to save, clean, dry and store the seeds.
“Seed Saving: How to Avoid Cross-Pollination in Squash“ by Davide Antonicello. Davide covers the process of saving seeds of squash family vegetables, focusing on the important step of avoiding cross-pollination (a step omitted on many videos I’ve reviewed).The result of the saved seeds will be odd-looking squashes next year. The video covers identifying male and female flowers, hand-pollinating the flowers, and closing them so that bees can’t spread unwanted pollen into your blossom.
“How to Save Zucchini Seeds. Also Works for Squash and Pumpkins“by Rob Bob’s Aquaponics & Backyard Farm. This Australian video picks up where the video above leaves off. Once the seeds are properly pollinated and the fruit grows, Rob explains when and how to harvest the squash for collecting seeds, as well as how to remove, clean, dry, and store the seeds. (He, however, does not cover the need to prevent cross-pollination of different varieties or squash types.)
“Guide to Saving Carrot Seeds“ by the Heritage Seed Library in the U.K. The speaker takes viewers through the process of saving carrot seeds, including which carrots to harvest in fall to save seeds and how to force the carrots into flowering indoors in spring. (Carrots are biennials and flower the second year.) She then covers how the organization prevents insects from pollinating the flowers, and how they let only a few flies into the enclosure for proper pollination. The steps of collecting, cleaning and storing carrot seed are explained.
“How to Save Carrot Seeds” by Seed Savers Exchange Heritage Farm. The speaker walks us through the process of saving the carrots seeds once the flowers have formed and been pollinated. This detailed video covers when the seed is ripe for harvesting, how to remove the seed, and how to clean the seed by deburring and winnowing.
“How to Save Cauliflower, Broccoli and Brassica Seeds” by Rob Bob’s Aquaponics & Backyard Garden. In this video Rob explains how to save seeds from Brassica family crops such as cauliflower. It’s easy for brassica crops, such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale to cross-pollinate, so he only grew one variety of cauliflower and says he’d isolated it enough from other brassicas to prevent varietal contamination. He warns against saving-seeds from hybrids. Also covered are how to harvest the seed pods and how to clean them by winnowing off the chaff.