If you want to save seeds for future planting, you must select sturdy and non-hybrid varieties. An example would be the heirloom varieties of tomatoes that can produce exact copies of themselves if not accidentally cross-pollinated by insects. If you plant varieties like this, experts recommend keeping them at least 500 feet away (152.4 meters) from one another.
To save tomato seeds, use fully-ripe tomatoes. Take the seeds, put them in a bowl, and wait three to four days for the slimy coating around them to dissolve as they ferment. This will also keep the seeds protected from diseases.
Rinse them with cold water and put them on a plate to dry for several days. Larger seeds will take more time to dry. After drying, place seeds in an airtight glass jar and store them in a cool, dry place. Cucumber seeds can also be treated the same way as tomato seeds.
For eggplant seeds, wait until the seeds are fully mature and become yellow-green or gold in color. When so, cut into two and remove the flesh from the seeds.
For saving beans and peas, put dry pods aside, remove the seeds, let them fully dry and store them in sandwich bags. These seeds must be planted separately as they can be easily cross-pollinated.
If you are saving lettuce seeds, allow the plant to fully grow and produce yellow flowers. Open the seed pods on butcher paper and use a razor blade or modeler’s knife to separate the seeds from the chaff or seed covering.
In order to save seeds successfully, choose several varieties so you have options just in case one seed is unhealthy.