How to Collect and Store Seeds
Many seed varieties available today have been developed for the commercial grower. They are bred for qualities such as uniformity and long shelf life; taste is usually the last consideration. Heirloom seeds have been passed down through the generations and are cherished for their outstanding characteristics, such as superior flavor, color, adaptability and vigorous growth.
How to Collect Seeds
As exciting as it is to see seedlings emerge from the soil, it's even more thrilling when those seedlings come from plants that you have raised and then taken the seed from your own garden.
Collect seeds only on sunny, dry days without strong winds. Do not collect the seeds too soon after a rainy day or the seeds will be sodden.
Seeds are ready for collection when it's fully dried, usually brown or black and crisp. If it is necessary to pick a seed green instead of waiting, for example, there is concern of a killing freeze, be sure to dry it off in sunlight on a window sill.
It is only worth collecting seeds from true and heirloom species. Many annuals are known as F1 hybrids. F1 hybrids are two breeding species crossed to produce often more vigorous and hardy than either parent plant, but they will not produce seed that germinates that will grow into a productive plant the following year.
The quickest method to collect seeds is to cut off the entire head or truss and place into paper envelopes, or for large heads, upside down in a paper bag. Do not use plastic bags because if the seeds are slightly damp they will rot.
Cleaning and removing the seeds from the petals or protective covers is typically as easy as just give the seeds or flowers a good shake into a bag or pot with no holes.
Storing and Preparing Seeds