Most of the seeds I purchase, I am able to keep for at least a few seasons before running out. The one exception to this rule is peas, which I always have to buy each season. To save myself a couple dollars next year after I had my fill of peas from my garden I let quite a few mature which I will reuse for seeds this fall and next spring.
Out of all the seeds I have collected peas definitely are the easiest by far. If you want to go with the ultra lazy easy approach just let them dry on the vine until the pod no longer has any moisture and the peas are loose in the pod. You even can store them in the pod and crack them open for planting. One disadvantage to this technique is the peas could end up getting enough airflow and could result in some moldy peas.
To be on the safer side here is a more conservative approach:
- Pick pods when fine is yellow. The basic idea at this point the plant is not really providing anything to the pods so you might as well take on the responsibility
- If the pod still feels a little moist store it in a dry location. If the pod feels dry using a small knife carefully cut a small slit lengthwise into the pod being careful to not to injure the peas.
- Once the peas get all shrived up and look like what you planted to begin with store in a cold dry location (jar in the refrigerator)
Now you have seeds ready for fall planting (or spring planting next year) If you go a little crazy with your dried peas you can also add them to soups or stews during the winter time.