How to Collect and Save Seed

Growing your plants from seed is an affordable and fun way to get to know your plants and their processes. Moreover, the Soil Association points out that saving your own seeds also makes you more self-reliant! 

You can save seeds from many trees and shrubs, perennials, aquatic plants, alpines, annuals, biennials, bulbous plants as well as ornamental grasses, vegetables and herbs.

Seeds

Seeds come in different shapes and sizes, below are most common types: (from RHS)

  • Berries (e.g. holly)
  • Capsules (e.g. poppy)
  • Catkins (e.g. birch)
  • Cones (e.g. pine)
  • Exploding seedheads (e.g. Euphorbia lathyris)
  • Nuts (e.g. hazel)
  • Pods (e.g. sweet peas)
  • Winged seed (e.g. Acer, sycamore)

While mostly a ‘straightforward’ process, seed saving according to the RHS “takes a little understanding and planning:

To find out more see this webpage by the RHS for extensive guidance and advice on seed saving. It includes a list of things to watch out for, how and when best to collect seed, the right way to store your seeds as well as outlines the most common problems.

Check out this brilliant video about saving seed to sow and swap! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkYp9ru68JM

This article provides an easy step by step guide to saving seeds with pictures.

The Soil Association also offers a great overview of the process, some tips, and further links all about seed saving.

Also be sure to check out our Facebook Group! Here you and other Greenhavens Network community members share their tips and ideas about seed saving as well as their seeds/cuttings themselves e.g. by means of a Community Seed Exchange:

At Greenhavens Network we try to host regular seed swapping events, the next date is October 23!


Seed photos by Anne Roe. Seed Saving / Photo by giantveggiegardener https://giantveggiegardener.com/2020/12/17/the-importance-of-seed-saving. Seed saving and sharing / photo by Regeneration International https://regenerationinternational.org/2016/03/16/open-sesame-shows-the-importance-of-seed-saving.

Seed saving
Seeds in hand