How to collect and save onion seeds from your garden

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Last year I collected cilantro seeds and they were a great success in my garden that this past Spring I made a commitment to myself that I would try to collect more seeds this season.  Though I wanted to get more I was able to collect seeds from my onions, jalapenos, and cilantro.  The jalapeno seeds were pretty easy I set some seeds aside on a paper towel while making some salsa.  After they appeared to be dry I threw them in a brown paper lunch bag.

For the onions once the florets (flower balls you see above) got real ugly and dry and I could see the black seeds emerging I placed them in a paper bag before the birds got to them.  I then put the bag on top of our kitchen cabinets and forgot about them for couple months.  Today I pulled the bag down and confirmed they definitely were dry.  To separate the seeds from the pods I broke apart (which happens easily) and placed the contents into a metal strainer.  I gently broken open any remaining pods and agitate the strainer.  This causes the small black seeds to move to the bottom, allowing the pods to float to the top and forcing many of the stems to fall through.

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I then skimmed off as many of the stems/pods as possible leaving and putting the seeds into a brown paper bag until I can get into town to buy some more manageably sized brown envelopes (recovering from Seattle snowstorm)

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After a few minutes of work I now have hundreds of onions seeds which I probably only have use for couple dozen.  Seed exchange anyone?

16 Responses to “How to collect and save onion seeds from your garden”

  1. flowergardengirl Says:

    They have the most beautiful white flower. I will be getting some too.


  2. jimmycrackedcorn Says:

    I thought this was the cheap vegetable gardening blog? You mention needing smaller brown bags? A pair of scissors, a tiny dab of glue and you’ll have made that one paper sack into 6 or 8 small envelopes for your seeds. It’s easy! I designed my own, but a quick Google found this link: http://www.suite101.com/blog/cottage_garden/make_your_own_seed_envelope


  3. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    jimmycrackedcorn, I must admit I am very ashamed in my weak moment and complete lack of cheapness. Hopefully my you can forgive me now I have followed the correct frugal path as you can see in my post Make your own paper seed packets Thanks for the heads up, I really didn’t need 500 little packets anyway :)Love the greenhouse by the way, how are the plants holding up?


  4. jimmycrackedcorn Says:

    Excellent job on the envelopes! I’ll do a post in the next day or so about the greenhouse. It’s doing very well! I have inch tall radishes and I’m ready to set out some lettuce I started inside since it’s a reasonably warm day. I have Kale seeds to start next and in a couple months there will be dozens and dozens of broccoli in there.


  5. Nest and Sparkle Says:

    I agree that cilantro is a great seed to collect – one of my favorite herbs and you can never have too much! Dill also produces tons of seeds that are very easy to collect. Also nasturtiums and violets (great salad flowers).


  6. dChen Says:

    Yay! Thanks for this.


  7. cfield farmer Says:

    i use the paper wrapper from tea bags.


  8. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    cfield farmer, thats a great idea. How do you keep them closed?


  9. Just trying to figure it out Says:

    After you put your seeds in the tea bag then close the flap and then fold the tea bag in half ( top to bottom ) after that use a paper clip to hold it shut. Then you can use a small pice of paper to wright down what kinda seed is in the tea bag and then slip it under the paper clip as well.


  10. Marion Says:

    Why don’t you sprout the excess seeds with alfalfa or similar or salads or sandwiches?


  11. How to grow onions and not onion flowers Says:

    […] plant a 1-2 inches apart and they do make a quite attractive flower and as an extra bonus you can collect the onion seeds for next […]


  12. Jenny Says:

    I save all the envelopes I get in bill and junk mail (since we dont mail our bills in we get many each month). I use them for sending in notes to the kids school, and also for saving seeds! I just cut and glue or tape them shut, and label them. three seed envelopes to each 1 envelope I cut. the rest of the mail or junk goes in the bottom of the bird cage for litter!


  13. robin barnett Says:

    i saw you talking about seeds, envelopes, brown bags. if you want tou can save the envelopes your bills ans junk mail comes in, as wll as composting much of the paper. you open the envelopes at the narrow end and keep it. put your seeds in, write what the seed is and staple, fold glue or close it. then put your seed envelopes in either an old recipe box or like i do, in one of my old accordian pleated folders, so you can alphabetize them, also this way you can collect the seeds at different times and thus share the envelopes. keeping old birthday card envelopes and holiday ones works and makes it a pretty gift, an old berry box full of seed envelopes is a great gift.


  14. SpeechTeach626 Says:

    I have my students sample the white onion flowers in the spring time. Their intense onion flower is delicious scattered on cheese quesadillas or salads.


  15. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    @SpeechTeach626, Never heard of that will have to try that this year.


  16. How to grow seeds in your garden - The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    […] year I am planning on harvesting spinach, pea, carrot, and radish seeds (along with my previous onions and cilantro) so stay tuned for more […]


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