Using seed from this year's harvest for next year's crop?

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I've managed to get a good crop of potatoes this year from seed potatoes I saved from last year's crop. I've also nurtured plants that grew from potatoes I clearly missed from harvesting last year and they have rewarded me with a decent crop. I also planted some chitted potatoes from bought food potatoes with success.

This got me to thinking about how I could be more self-sufficient and save the considerable cost of seed and plants by gathering, storing and planting seeds from other crops I have grown this year. I'm thinking mangetout, runner and french beans, courgettes and possibly tomatoes and salad crops. Any tips, warnings and other advice would be most welcome.

I have six 1m x 2m raised beds and a small green house available.
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Reactions: Billy-o


Apr 19, 2018
One thing is to get some brown paper bags. Use them to tie over the top of the seed bearing parts of the plants when ready. Catches the seed as the plant dries out and drops the seeds.

Also paper bags are good for drying in any case. Remember that anything you dry should be hung upside down, in a bag or not, otherwise it risks rotting.

Many plants look magnificently architectural when allowed to go to seed and catch a frost on them. Photoworthy.
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Jan 21, 2005
S. Lanarkshire
All of those will save well.
Mould growing on the seed won't help, and they're much better kept cold. Peas and the like don't need chilled in the fridge, but a dry cold pantry or cupboard/drawer is fine. I use little brown paper envelopes to store mine.

You can sprout those beans and seeds before you plant them and you'll see if they're viable that way :)

I've never tried saving lettuce seeds, but turnip, beetroot, radish, all seem to run true.
Tomatoes and chillies as well :) Pumpkins and butternut squash do so too.

Best of luck with it :)



Jan 21, 2005
S. Lanarkshire
I grew peas from the dried marrowfat ones that come in a box to soak and boil at home. 50p for a box of Batchelors. 250g.
Nice peas :happy: Big and sweet and lovely straight from the vine. I've saved one pods worth from every vine I grew for next year. The bees were busy round them, so I reckon they'll be a healthy enough mix.
Every single pea I sprouted grew into a healthy plant, and not overwhelmingly tall either. They're still producing now.

Hodmedod's do a nice range too though. Should ask if they're viable I suppose ?

Woody girl

Full Member
Mar 31, 2018
I've had very good results from baby tomatoes that I bought in March then realising I had no seed just cut one in half then popped the seeds onto damp compost in a pot . I had so many plants you wouldn't believe!
I've also done shop bought potatoes very successfully.
Runner beans are very easy to save and have saved them for about 7 consecutive years now.
I leave several overgrown beans on the plant to turn brown and finish drying the pods indoors.
Shallots which I bought last year for pickling I had about a dozen left over. I planted them this spring, and though several did nothing, I have enough for another large jar of pickled shallots.
Tried planting small shop bought onions but they flowered so I've left them to turn to seed and will collect that to plant.
It may not always be successful but usualy you can get something worth having.
I also planted some shop bought butternut squash left over seeds and now have four lovely plants producing some nice little butternuts.
It's great fun learning what you can get from practicaly nothing.
Try peppers chillies and even strawberrys from shop bought food. They would all do well in the greenhouse.
Strawberrys are done just like the tomatoes. Don't forget to label what it is though! I keep forgetting what I'm planting this year as I had no labels left.
I've had to eat a lot of magnum ice lollies to make more labels....( well that's my excuse :) )


Jul 2, 2014
North West Somerset
We recycle some excess seed of most types each year, unless we’ve had a poor year, especially as we’re still trying different kinds of garden crops in our new-to-us house’s garden. We also try different tomato varieties each year by buying a few types and then drying the seeds on kitchen paper towels. It works well - you can write the type/name and date directly on the paper with a pen, and even plant the paper direct into pots with the seeds on it. This year it has been a very good year for beefsteak toms which we are now preserving as suggested in Hugh’s latest video on YouTube.

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