Saving Seeds, Saving Money
I’m always looking for ways to save money and time in the garden. While it’s fun to make the rounds of my favorite nurseries, it’s also time-consuming and expensive! Same with perusing and buying from seed catalogs—those seed packets can add up quickly!
I’ve always saved “easy” seeds including nasturtiums, marigolds, cosmos, zinnias, peppers, radishes, squash, peas, and beans.
I decided to step up my seed saving game in 2018 and I’m proud to share that I met one of my 2018 garden goals, which was to save more seeds.
In addition to my easy list, I also saved borage, salvia, tithonia, oregano, lemon basil, dill, cilantro/coriander, tomatoes, and the helpfully labeled “plant bees like near hanging platform feeder by raised beds” seeds. Admittedly, I should have saved some of these—like dill and cilantro—all along but I didn’t take the time to.
5 Seed Saving Tips
Some seeds are easy to save, some are a bit harder, and some I just guessed at. Interested in learning how to save seeds? These 5 tips can help:
- Use online resources. I knew borage seeds could be saved, but I had a hard time actually finding the seeds. A search led me to this video by John from GrowingYourGreens. After watching the video, I learned exactly when to look for the seeds and quickly became a borage seed-saving pro.
- Experiment. I wasn’t sure about how to save tithonia seeds so I cut the heads off the dried flowers and I’m storing them in a paper bag. I’ll toss them on the ground when I plant in the spring, which is similar to my lazy method for saving and replanting zinnias.
I’m also experimenting with this method for saving tomato seeds. I’ll know if this method works when I start tomato in March.
- Label, label, label. Similar to seedlings, many seeds and dried flowers look alike. During the busy end-of-summer harvesting, I always took the time to label what I was saving. Even the previously mentioned “plant bees like…” label works!
- Organize your seeds. I spent about three hours this past weekend cleaning up my seed starting area and organizing seeds. By the end of the growing season, it will be a hot mess again but getting organized during December or January helps me get ready for the upcoming gardening season. I like to store seeds in a few different categories:
- Cool-season crops – grouped into greens, radishes, beets, peas, etc.
- Warm-season crops – seeds grouped into tomatoes, beans, peppers, etc.
- Learn how to store seeds properly. There’s no point in saving seeds if you don’t know how to store them correctly. I’m fortunate enough to have a cabinet decided to seed storage and other gardening supplies. I store seed packets in plastic bins and seeds in either paper bags or Mason jars. My friend Amy recently gave me an adorable and useful seed organizer tin, which you can see below, and I’m now resisting the urge to upgrade all my plastic bins!
Does this mean I’m giving up on making the nursery rounds and buying new seeds? Of course not! But savings seeds does save money and time and, as a frugal and busy gardener, I appreciate both.