After all the hard work and expense of putting in your first heirloom garden you will want to collect and save seeds for next years garden. This way you garden year after year and only purchase seeds once. So these are some tips in collecting and saving seeds for next years garden. The first thing is to make sure that you only collect seeds from your healthy and best producing plants in the garden. Then you want to wait until after the first fruits. Harvest from the second or third bloom.
Fleshy plants (Tomatoes and Squash)
When the fruit is fully ripened then scoop the seeds and the fruit around them out. Then place them in a glass jar with water. Twice a stay stir the misture until the seeds sink to the bottom. Then pour off the liquid, rinse the seeds well and place them on newspaper or paper towels to dry.
Beans and Peas
Let the pods stay on the vine until they are dry and cracked and you can hear the seeds rattle in the pods. This may take up to a month after you would normally harvest them. After harvesting then spread them out to dry in a well ventilated area for another 2 weeks. Then you can harvest the seeds from the pods.
Corn should be left on the stalk until the kernels start to dent and become hard. Then the corn can be harvested and brought in to dry further on the cob until they are good and hard, about 2 weeks.
Allow some of the healthiest peppers to stay on the vine until they wrinkle. Then remove the seeds and lay them out to dry on some newspaper.
Once all of your seeds are dry you can store them in ziploc bags (mark the bags)with some powdered milk. Keep them in a cool dry place and you will have seeds for next year.
Things like carrots and such. I just usually purchase seeds because it is almost impossible to find the seeds much less save them.