Step-by-Step Harvesting Guide

Beans and Peas

  1. Allow your beans to fully mature (about 4 – 5 weeks after it ripens). They will eventually become dry and hard.
  2. You will know when they are ready when you shake the dried out plant and hear the beans rattling inside their pods.
  3. Remove bean pods from plant and open them to remove the beans.
  4. Store on a plate for 1 – 2 days to ensure beans are completely dry.

Eggplant

  1. Allow your eggplants to fully mature far past the eating stage. They will eventually harden and turn a dull brown colour, sometimes shriveling in the process.
  2. Cut the eggplant in half and pull the flesh away from the seeded areas. If you want to save more than a few seeds, use a food processor or blender to mash the flesh and expose the seeds.
  3. Put the pulp in a bowl and add water. Once the seeds have settled, pour off the water and debris. Repeat until only clean seeds remain.
  4. Add more water and pour the mix through a strainer with a fine mesh. This will help to catch any tiny seeds.
  5. Dry the bottom of the strainer with a towel to absorb excess moisture and dump the seeds out onto a plate to dry completely.

Squash and Zucchini

  1. Slice open the fully matured fruit.
  2. Remove pulp and seeds with a spoon and place them in a strainer.
  3. Rinse thoroughly and remove any remaining pulp with running water.
  4. Spread seeds on a cookie sheet or a large flat surface and allow them to dry completely.

Herbs

  1. Once your herbs flower, allow the flower heads to start drying out.
  2. Snip flower heads off and allow to dry completely in a warm dry place.

Lettuce

  1. Once your lettuce plants have sent up their flower stalks, the seeds will begin to ripen.
  2. Once the stalks become dry and start producing dandelion-like fluff, the seeds are fully mature.
  3. To collect the seeds, shake the stalk over a paper bag or bucket. This may be done over a couple days or all at once, depending on how ready the seeds are.
  4. Gently remove fluff from seeds.

Tomatoes

  1. Slice fully ripened tomatoes in half and scoop pulp and seeds into a clean bowl or jar.
  2. Add a cup or so of water so that the seeds and pulp are floating in the liquid.
  3. Cover and place in a warm place and allow to ferment for 2 – 4 days. After a while, the mixture will begin to produce a smell.
  4. The fermentation process is complete when a layer of scum forms on the surface and/or when the seeds have sunk to the bottom of the container. Once this occurs, remove the seeds immediately – the seeds will begin to germinate if left sitting.
  5. Remove scum and thick pulp from the top of the liquid and pour the remainder into a fine sieve.
  6. Rinse seeds under running water to remove any remaining pulp.
  7. Carefully tap and spread seeds out onto a paper or glass plate. Do not use paper towels as the seeds will stick to them.
  8. Gently shake every once in a while to prevent clumping.
  9. Set in a warm dry spot and allow seeds to fully dry.

Lavender

  1. Cut lavender stalks off after they have finished blooming and the flower heads have dried. Waiting until some of the old flower heads have begun to lose seed before collecting the stalk helps to ensure that the seeds are ripe when you gather them.
  2. Tie string around the base of the lavender stalks and hang them up to dry in a cool place with ample air circulation. Alternatively, lay the lavender stalks on a screen with sheeting or a solid surface underneath to catch any seeds that fall. Do not place directly on the screen
  3. Place or tie a brown paper bag around hanging lavender stalks to catch any seeds that drop out.
  4. After several days of drying, shake the lavender in the bag and thrash or rub to release seeds.
  5. Separate the small, dark lavender seeds from other plant parts. To do this, you can use a screen that will allow the seeds to pass while capturing any larger plant parts, or gently blow the plant material away from the seeds.

Peppers

  1. Allow peppers to fully develop on the plant. They should be dark in colour and slightly wrinkled.
  2. Pick the pepper, cut in half and rub/shake seeds out into a bowl. Remove any remaining seeds with your fingers.
  3. Spread seeds out on a plate or tray lined with paper towel.
  4. Allow to dry for 1 – 2 weeks, or until seeds have dried completely.

 

Once you have successfully harvested your plant’s seeds, secure them in a dated and labeled envelope. When your seeds have been packaged, you can drop them off at any OPL Branch.


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