Seed saving is a frugal way to garden.
You plant a seed, care for it, watch it grow, enjoy your bounty and in the end, are presented with a seed to start all over again.
You hold in your hands the circle of life!
This year, between saved seeds, free seeds my hubby picked up for me and seeds I found on sale, I only spent about $20.00 on my veggie garden. Of course, I forgot to weigh all the beans, tomatoes, carrots, and other yummy veggies as I picked them, so I have no idea how much money I saved by growing my own, but I do know I would have spent a heck of a lot more than $20.00!
I have been saving peas and beans for years. The peas and beans are eaten by us and put into Doggy Stew, so those free seeds are paying big dividends. Plus, legumes fix nitrogen in the soil and work wonderfully as mulch when they are done producing. I just pull them and drop them back into the garden! All for FREE!
If you haven’t saved seeds yet, I would recommend Heirloom seeds. You get the same plant year after year. With Hybrids, you won’t necessarily get that. Heirlooms can be a bit more expensive, but I consider it a good investment. For the price of one packet of seeds, you can continue growing that variety for years, by collecting and saving seeds every Fall. After the first year, I consider the seeds for each following year to be free because of the money you saved growing that veggie in the first place.
Starting seedlings is a bit of trial and error, as anyone who has ever tried it will know. In spite of a few failures and disappointments, it is the most amazing feeling to collect tomatoes from a tomato plant that reaches up to your chin, and know that you started it from a tiny seed! That feeling is worth a million bucks!
Speaking of tomato plants; they can be really expensive too. I know I saved about $40.00 by starting mine from seed this year, plus I had extra plants I gave away!
Seed saving can also be done with flowers, of course. I grow a TON of zinnias every year from saved seeds. I enjoy the bright, cheerful zinnias and they attract tons of bees, that in turn, pollinate my veggies! I also grow Geraniums and Petunias from seed.
There are many good websites explaining how to collect various seeds, so I won’t go into that, but if you are excited to try, start with something easy like zinnias,beans or pumpkins. Beans are easy to collect seeds from; just let them dry on the plant! When they are dry, crack open the pods and keep the seeds! Zinnias are easy too. Just cut the heads off the plant after they have lost their brightness and start to turn brown. If they feel a little moist, lay them on a screen (like in the photo above) until they feel dry. I keep mine in paper bags over the winter and come Spring, I break the heads apart and collect the seeds! This site has good tips for saving pumpkin seeds.
Hope I’ve convinced you to try some seed saving. I’ve gone a bit overboard with it, myself. I find it hard to throw dead plants when I know there are seeds there, free for the taking. I think to myself, “I can’t throw these, they will grow!” I feel a bit like Dr. Frankenstein….”It’s ALIVE!!!”