How to Save Nasturtium and Other Seeds

I love nasturtiums and this summer I had a real cascade of them tumbling over the deck boxes in their bright colors and peppery scents. My daughter and I went to weed them the other day and noticed that many had gone to seed and still many others had dropped their seeds on the deck. We gathered the seeds excitedly, figuring that since they were intact and recognizable as the nasturtium seeds we’d planted before, we should be able to save these for planting in the future.

After all, what better way for kids to learn about the process of seeds becoming plants than to collect, save, plant and grow their own seeds?

I since found a couple of wonderful resources about seed saving.

Mr. Brown Thumb has a lot of great information about collecting nasturtium seeds, complete with a video. He says that larger seeds are best, and that it doesn’t matter if the seeds are brown or green. This is good news because I found plenty of both.

About.com has a lot of great information about seed saving in general, including which other seeds are good candidates for saving:

Methods and Timing for Saving Seeds

Always choose the best quality plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables from which to save seeds. Look for disease resistance, vigor, great flavor and productivity. Next year’s plants will only be as good as this year’s seed. Harvest seeds either:

  • When the seed pods have dried on the plant (flowers, beans, broccoli, lettuce…)Keep an eye on the pods as they start to brown. Most seed pods will open and disperse on their own. You can catch seed by placing small bags over the seed heads when they look ready to pop or by pulling the plant just before completely dry and storing upside down in a paper bag.

Storing Saved Seed

  • Make sure the seed is completely dry, or it will rot or mold in storage
  • Remove as much of the chaff as possible
  • Store in a paper envelope, labeled with the variety and year
  • Place the envelopes into an air tight container, such as a canning jar
  • Store in a cool, dark, dry place
  • Stored seed is best used the following year

What Seeds Can Be Saved?

Open Pollinated or heirloom, self-pollinated plants are the only varieties that will grow true from seed, meaning the seedlings will be exactly like the parents. These are the seeds worth saving.

Self-pollinated plants are the easiest to save and include: Beans, Chicory, Endive, Lettuce, Peas, Tomatoes. You can also save many heirloom flower seeds such as: cleome, foxgloves, hollyhock, nasturtium, sweet pea, and zinnia.

I dried my seeds on this old bulb storage crate from the Netherlands. It’s come in handy for all kinds of drying projects.

I stored my seeds according to the above guidelines. I’ll plant them next year and will let you know how they do.

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

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17 Responses to How to Save Nasturtium and Other Seeds

  1. Namaste, beautiful as always, informative and I learned something all at the same time. Thank you.
    Peace and light
    Michael

    • Hi Michael! Thanks so much for visiting and for your lovely comment. I truly appreciate the support and it’s good to know that the info is of use! I found this such a delightful simple activity. It was a lot of fun to discover and share it. Great to hear from you as always!

  2. It is my pleasure, I am a big fan of your blog, it is linked on the blog roll of our beta site now. If you like it is at sbafarmscollective.org. still on soft launch but almost finished.
    I appreciate the kind words
    Peace and light

    • Hi Michael. Thank you so much for adding me to your blogroll. Your new blog is lovely and I am honored to be included. Peace and light back to you, as always!

  3. Thanks for the inclusion in the link roundup. Glad you found the post useful.

  4. Namaste,
    Thank you so much for your very nice reply, the site is launching as a MU site when it goes up. It is a blessing to have you there, such good company, and directly related to what we are trying to say. Glad you like it. Peace and light, have an incredible day. It’s beautiful, but really hot here, but beauty abounds when we just slow down a bit – michael

  5. This is great practical advice. Thanks for posting.

    • Hi Juliet! You’re most welcome! It’s wonderful to see you here. I’m so glad you found the seed-saving information useful. As for me, I think it’s going to prove a really interesting and fun new hobby!

  6. Great tips! We love saving seeds, and have a whole drawer in our fridge full of them. It is very satisfying to plant something you collected the summer before!!!

  7. Hi Denise! It’s great to see you. How wonderful that you’re a seed saver! Are there any plants that you’ve had particular success with? Any tips? Do you always save your seeds in the fridge? It sounds like you’ve done well with them — I so agree that it’s a completely satisfying and full-circle experience to plant seeds from a plant you grew.

  8. I’ve always planted nasturtiums in the summer, but your post made me realize I forgot to this year. Seeing your photos makes me miss them!

    My husband and I are also practiced seed savers.

    • Hi Sarah! I’m so delighted that you visited my blog. Your own blog is quite beautiful and inspirational, as are your toys. (I’m also a huge fan of Maine and, even though I’m about as far across the country as one can be from you, I try to get there when I can.) I hope that we continue to stay in touch. Which seeds have you had particular success with?

  9. Thanks for the kind words about my blog!

    I grew up in Southern California, and in fact, just got home this week from the Bay Area.

    My husband and I used to have a family farm where we regularly saved as many seeds as we could, but primarily vegetables — beans, melons and tomatoes.

  10. Merry Christmas Everyone. I live in a small village called Oakley which is 5 miles north of Bedford and 75 miles north of London, UK. I’ve been saving & buying seeds for a couple of years now. The ones I like the best are seeds from the Monkey Puzzle Tree. I have 4 growing at the moment – 3 in the greenhouse & 1 indoors on a window sill. If anyone has any they don’t want please can you send them to me. Send me an email & I’ll reply with my contact details. Happy New Year to everyone & Season’s Greetings. I hope you have a very nice day!

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