Saving seeds is one of the more rewarding things you can do in your garden. It will give you an abundance of seed that you can plant, swap, give and store for next year. It has multiple other benefits too.
With the rampant commercialism of seed varieties it is a great way to stick one to the big corporate operations that are determinedly trying to control our food. It protects old varieties, lessens our reliance on their products and keeps money in our pockets. Too good.
As we gather seed we also are selectively growing plants that work well for our specific area. By sharing these with our friends and neighbors we can create a robust local plant culture for the future.
There are many companies that provide seed responsibly and these are great to add new varieties to our mix or replace a line that gets lost.
In essence the process is super simple. First you take a particularly lovely looking plant and resist the temptation to eat it. Thoroughly enjoy eating all the plants around it, allow it to grow to maturity. In doing this it will produce a huge amount of seed.
Observation is your best tool. Usually when a fruit falls or a seed pod dries out it is time to collect the seed. Separate the seed from its pod or fruit for storage. Once you have the seed keep them dry in an airy place ready for the next growing season. I find small brown paper bags are great.
Don’t forget to label your seed bags so you know what is in them and when they were harvested. I have made the dreaded mistake of going to my seed collection and thinking “aah s__t, f__k, what is that?”
Alternatively if you don’t have the time or desire to harvest, process and store your seeds, you can simply let nature do what she has always done. By leaving the seeds to fall many of them will grow into new plants all by themselves come spring.