You probably don’t need to be told why saving seed is a wise idea. From Genesis through the New Testament, we read accounts of periods of famine on the earth. In Genesis 41:53-57, we read:
“And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended.”
Joel 1:17 says:
“The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered.”
But not only have natural conditions caused famine, but years of war and conquest as well. In Matthew 24:7, we read:
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”
Jeremiah 5:17 talks specifically about the perils of war:
“And they shall eat up thine harvest, and thy bread, [which] thy sons and thy daughters should eat: they shall eat up thy flocks and thine herds: they shall eat up thy vines and thy fig trees: they shall impoverish thy fenced cities, wherein thou trustedst, with the sword.”
Saving seed is one of many strategies to protect your family against the threat of hard times in the future. But it also has some practical applications for times of plenty, as well. By saving and planting your own seed, you are using resources wisely; it is a savvy financial move. In addition, saving seed ensures the survival of heirloom plants that might otherwise face extinction due to hybridizing.
How To Save Seeds
The first step in saving seed is choosing open-pollinated varieties. Open-pollinated plants are often heirloom varieties. When you plant seeds from these plants, the new plants produce fruit very similar to the original plant. Hybrid seeds are developed by combining two varieties to form a new plant. The seeds from hybrid plants do not reliably reproduce consistent results. You may end up with a plant with very different characteristics than the parent plants.
Tomatoes, peppers, and legumes are good plants to start with. These plants produce seeds in one season, and the seeds are readily visible and easy to harvest. In general, always choose the healthiest plant with the best fruits to save seed from.
To save tomato seeds, cut fully ripened tomatoes in half and scoop out the fruit. Place the seeds and the gel that surrounds them in a jar with some water. Stir the water a few times per day. After a few days, the tomato seeds will sink to the bottom. Drain off the water and debris, strain the seeds, and rinse them. Lay them on a towel to dry.
To save peppers, simply leave a few fruits on the plant. The peppers are ready when the seeds rattle inside them. Cut the peppers open, remove the seeds and allow them to dry out.
To save pea and bean seeds, allow them to dry on the vine until the seeds rattle inside the pods. Pick the pods and spread them out on a cookie sheet in the house. Let them dry an additional week or so. Open the pods and remove the seeds, or save the seeds directly in the pods.
Place the seeds in small paper bags and label the bags with the type of seed and the date. Store the seeds in a glass jar or plastic bag in the refrigerator. Properly stored seeds will remain viable for up to ten years, but for best results, use saved seeds within three years.