Which seeds can be saved?
Save the best seeds! If you have a tomato that bore fruit early or a watermelon that was particularly tasty, be sure to save those seeds. Saving your own seeds is more work than buying them, but the benefit is to encourage the traits you want in your supply of garden seeds. The steps you take to save seeds will depend on the fruit or vegetable. Some seeds can be scraped easily from the flesh of the produce and are relatively dry. Other seeds are small and deeply embedded inside the fruit, making them hard to separate. For fruits and vegetables that separate easily from the produce and are not covered in pulp, simply scrape the seeds away from the produce. Spread them out evenly on a glass dish. They should NOT be layered on top of each other. The air will need to circulate easily around them to dry. Place them in a sunny window for one week. Using a glass dish, or plate, in this step prevents the seeds from sticking, as they do to a paper towel. You won't have to worry about damaging the seeds trying to remove them from the towel if you spread them out well on a glass surface.
For seeds that come with a lot of liquid or pulp, remove as much pulp as possible from the seed with your fingers. Then, soak or rinse them immediately to remove the remainder. After soaking, strain the seeds from the water with you hand or with a strainer. Then follow the steps above to dry the seeds in a window. When you are certain the seeds are well dried, place them in an envelope. Write the type of seed and the date on the envelope. Store them in a dry, dark and cool place. Very small seeds from flowering vegetables such as lettuce may simply be shaken into a paper sack. Make sure these seeds are ready to harvest before removing them from the plant. A good indication of the seeds readiness is when the flower becomes dry or begins to drop a few seeds. If you enjoy saving seeds there are a variety of seed trading forums online. You might also find it rewarding to swap seeds with other gardeners in your local area.
Saving Tomato Seeds
Save tomato seeds for planting next year. Most people think tomatoes are vegetables, but they are a fruit. To save the seeds, cut the tomato in half and with a spoon scoop out all the seeds into a glass bowl. Add some waters to the seeds to leach away sprouting inhibitors. Set the bowl aside for two to three days then pour the seeds into a fine sieve and rinse them with water. Pat them dry with a paper towel, then shake them onto a paper plate, and set them in a bright airy place to dry. Store seeds in a resealable plastic bag or container.
Saving Seeds From Summer Squash
Save seeds from the summer squash in your garden. Allow the squash to over-ripen. You'll know it's time to harvest the seeds when the flesh can be dented with a fingernail. Slice the squash open, and scrape out the seeds. Wash them and let them dry on a paper plate or paper towel. Store the dry seeds in a paper or plastic bag.