Saving seeds the easy way

In this series, we discuss how to save your own organic seeds. Once you dip into the seed saving world, you realise how satisfying and easy it can be. Tomatoes, peas and French beans, for instance, are a great place to start. Not only are you keeping yourself in organic produce, year on year - you're also saving money!

We also look at some of the wonderful heritage varieties available. If taste and individuality are your aims, then why not support our Heritage Seed Library? We conserve many varieties that are no longer widely available. Often they are rejected as 'uncommercial'. Many are local, such as the Stafford broad bean, Stoke lettuce and Leamington cauliflower.

Year on year, HSL staff continue the growing cycle of seed to plant, harvest to seed, ensuring that these old heritage varieties don't disappear.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Heritage Seed Library, it costs just an additional £1.50 a month, on top of your Garden Organic membership. In doing so, you will be supporting our vital work of maintaining rare heritage plants - and you can choose up to 6 packets of seed free each year!

But first, a few words on seed saving .....

Why save your own seed?

Some do it to preserve a link with the past, growing a variety their parents grew. Or one that is no longer available. Some want to share and swap their seeds. Others recognise that as seed catalogues offer new, improved varieties every year, the reality is that the choice of vegetables continues to narrow.

How easy is it?

With some vegetables, such as tomatoes and peas, it is very simple and you save seeds from ripened fruit each year. 

With others, such as runner beans and pumpkins, you need to be a bit careful to prevent any cross-pollination from other plants to keep your own variety pure.  If, for instance, your runner bean flower is pollinated by a bee from your neighbour’s plants (which are a different type of runner bean) you cannot predict what sort of bean you will grow next year. It could be a mix of the two.  To help you, read more in our Seed Saving Guidelines.

So, let’s start with the easy peasy seed savers: Tomatoes, peas and French beans