Since I grow only heirloom or open pollinated seed, I try to save some of the seeds from this years harvest, so I can have some to plant next year. Saving seed is quite easy to do and it saves a lot of money. It also gives me a feeling of security knowing that I have viable seeds for the following year and don’t have to rely on ordering them.
Here’s a few pictures of how I harvest Spinach seeds. The theory works the same for pretty much any leaf crop.
When you harvest your Spinach, be sure to leave a few plants alone and just let them grow. If you can, pick your healthiest best looking ones so that you will have the healthiest best seed for next year.
As the season carries on, those Spinach plants will get larger and larger and then start sending up flower stalks from the middle of the plant. Just leave them be and sit back and enjoy the flowers.
Let the flowers dry on the stalks and eventually you should see seeds setting. Once they are dry (or mostly dry) then carefully snip the stalks and put them into a paper bag large enough to fit all the stalks. Tie a string around the bag and hang it up or set it out of the way. Now leave it alone!
After a few weeks, you can thresh out your seeds. An easy way to do this is to reach inside the bag, grab a stalk and then move your hand down the stalk, removing everything which will then fall to the bottom of the bag. You can see the threshed stalks in the picture; there’s nothing left on them.
Here you can easily see all the seed. The leaves have withered to almost nothing, but there are a lot of seeds on that little portion of stalk. Save them all for next year.
Just one handful of seed that has been saved to use next year.
A bowlful! All I need to do is separate those leaves from the seeds. An easy way to do that is to stand on the porch with a breeze going and pour the seed from one bowl to another, letting the breeze catch those leaves. The seeds are heavier so they will fall into the lower bowl. After that, I can put them in an envelope and save them in a cool dark place.