Since we’re now deep in Autumn, it’s definitely time to save your seeds! If you’ve been planning to save seeds since the spring- congrats, but If you are wondering what you can do now, not to worry, you can still save seeds and carry a bit of your garden for next year’s crops.
The easier plants to save seeds from are in-breeders: they won’t cross with other varieties from the same species and so what you save, is what will grow the next year: tomatoes, french beans, lettuce and peas.
For peas and french beans, simply let a few pods from your favorite and healthiest plants dry directly on the plant, until brown, and crunchy to the touch. Then, on a sunny day and when the pods aren’t damp, pick them, shell the seeds and store the seeds in a good container (old jars work wonders).
For tomatoes, pick a ripe beautiful tomato from your healthiest plant. Squeeze the juice, pulp and seeds in a glass jar. Add a bit of cold water, pierce a few holes in the lid and leave the jar closed on a countertop, out of direct sunlight, for up to two weeks. You want a layer of mould to develop on the top of the liquid. Once it’s ready (appropriately mouldy), rinse and clean the the seeds and let them dry on a paper towel for a day or so. Once they are dry, store them out of sunlight.
If you are growing a lettuce you love (that is not from the cabbage family like rocket, or japanese greens), then let one of your plant go to seed. Once the seed head is brown and dry, cut it and shake it into a paper bag on a dry day. The seeds will be mixed with chaff. You can reduce the amount of chaff by using a seed cleaner (we have one available at the Seed Bank!), or by pouring the seeds from one jar to another and gently blowing on the moving flow of seeds. The chaff is lighter and will fly away, so better do that outside. Store the seeds away from sunlight.
And for all your saved seeds, please be sure to label all your seed packets, and write at least the variety and the year harvested. We advise to keep track of a bit moreIf you have saved some seeds you’d like to share with the London Freedom seed bank, please get in touch!