Harvesting fruits and vegetables can be very rewarding, and so is the sowing of new seeds for the following crops. But you should not be too hasty to sow fresh seeds as they may not germinate.
Fresh seeds can be sown but will not germinate because they should be prepared properly to protect the embryo. Fresh seeds will have moisture on the inside and outside which can cause mold to formulate and the seed to rot when planted.
Tomato seeds are different from the rest, and a fully matured tomato can be sliced and placed into the soil with successful germination.
However, this is not true for other fruits and veggies. In this article, we will explain why and what you can do to ensure that your seeds can be harvested and germinated successfully.
Things you Need to know about Seeds
If you plan on harvesting your crop before it reaches maturity, the seeds may not be fully developed for planting next season; you must wait until it has fully matured.
This is especially important when planting seeds that require curing. It gives the seeds time to develop within the vegetable or fruit fully and significantly increases the germination probability.
If you sow seeds immediately after harvesting, the coating will begin to rot, and the seeds won’t germinate.
Not all seeds, when planted, will indeed germinate, not even fully developed, dried seeds, because a lot can go wrong when the seed is placed into the ground.
The main reason for waiting to sow newly harvested seeds is that the seed coating dries once exposed to air. This seals the undeveloped seedling and prevents air and moisture ingress that will cause the seed to rot.
The sealing effect prolongs the seed’s longevity as it can now be stored for longer periods before it is planted.
Can you Plant Green Seeds?
A seed that is green in color doesn’t necessarily mean that it is unmatured. It’s just based on genetics that the seed has a green color when fully matured.
Often times the term green is used to describe an unmatured fruit, but this is not true for the seeds within.
Green seeds and fresh seeds go hand in hand. Seeds don’t ripen and change color like the fruit. If the seed is green within the fully matured fruit, it can be planted once prepared properly.
Which Seeds Can you Plant Fresh or without drying?
The only seed we have found that can be planted freshly into the soil from the fruit is tomatoes and squash or pumpkin.
In a germinating seed, the embryo (the baby plant) is hugged by the cotyledon until its ready to germinate and grow outwards.
When the temperature reaches the right level and enough water molecules to cause the seeds to swell and burst open, you will have germination.
When sowing these seeds, you best slice the (fruit with the seeds inside) then place it in a nutrient-rich soil mix and cover it highly to prevent sun and the drying effects of the atmosphere.
Which Seeds Work Well When Dried?
Some fruits need to be dried and then re-wetted to be planted efficiently.
Other seeds need to be thoroughly dried before you plant them. Some seeds, like pepper, need to be wet during planting.
The following seeds need to be dried entirely before planting them.
- Apple seeds
- Avocado seeds
- Lemon fruit seeds
How to Prepare Fresh Seeds?
In larger fruits like pumpkins, the seeds should be removed before placing to dry.
|Seed extraction is recommended because the larger vegetables and fruits will contain excess moisture that can ruin the drying process of the seeds.|
|After removal, wash the seeds separately, put them on a clean plate, and let them settle for some time without adding any water.|
|After that, place the seeds in a transparent polythene bag, look for a very open, clear space, and put them directly exposed to the clear sunlight.|
|You should turn them over to ensure every part of the seed is well-dried completely.|
|Leave them to be sundried for at least two weeks, then take them and get them ready for planting.|
|Make sure you never leave the seeds outside at night because the morning dew can disrupt the process of sun-drying the seeds.|
|The morning dew will wet the seeds if left open outside.|
|It is recommended that you will need to dry seeds roughly for at least 2 – 3 weeks to ensure complete drying.|
When to Extract Seeds from the Fruit?
The best time to extract the seeds from the fruit is when it is fully matured and enters its ripening stage. Here you will know that the seeds have had enough time to develop fully, and the germination success rate will be much greater.
If you extract the seeds too early, the internal structure of the seeds will not have enough energy to germinate because it will be underdeveloped.
With a fully developed fruit or vegetable, seed extraction should be easy because the fruit or vegetable will be soft, and the seeds will also be released daily easily.
How Long Can you Store Dried Seeds?
Seeds can be viable for hundreds and even thousands of years. The oldest carbon-14-dated seed grown into a viable plant was a Judean date palm seed about 2,000 years old, recovered from excavations at the palace of Herod the Great in Israel.
The water content and temperature have a direct effect on seed longevity.
The sum of relative humidity and temperature should be less than 100F for the sample to survive 5 years.
Another rule is that reduction of water content by 1% or temperature by 10°F (5.6°C) will double the seed life span.
But there is a limit to how far you can dry seeds. If the moisture content within the seeds is too low, it can significantly reduce the germination success rate.
How to extract fresh seeds
Seeds should be extracted when the fruit is already ripe and mature.
Pollinated fruits and the ones which are well taken care of are the ones that grow into edible and fresh fruits.
They enable the person harvesting the fruit to have an easy time and obtain good quality seeds.
Proper storage also can enhance fruit quality.
Proper handling in case of transportation from the farm to the household can also help produce good seeds from good fruit.
Some things are essential when extracting the seeds from the fruit.
Ensure you handle the fruit properly; do not overpress, which may cause damage.
Cut the fruit in half to avoid cutting in through the seeds, damaging them.
Use a clean spoon, and scoop out the seeds into a clean bowl with water to wash the seeds. This makes it easy to remove any fruit that remains on the seed.
Let the seeds settle for at least two days, and make sure you regularly check on them to avoid contamination from other sources.
Remove the seeds from the water, place them in transparent polythene, and tear a small piece to allow air to circulate through the seeds to avoid moldy situations.
Leave them for another additional two weeks for them to dry thoroughly.
Ensure the seed is well taken off and stored in cool, dry places.
Avoid humid areas as it can make the drying process have no benefit.