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Harvesting Seed

Articles: Harvesting Seed

Matthew and Astrid inspecting the corn in their trial garden. Photo: Dan Hoffman Photography

It’s the end of the growing season. Your planning, work, and patience has paid off and it’s time to harvest your seed crop.

This cucumber is fully ripened and ready for seed harvesting. Photo: The Living Seed Company

When to harvest crops for seed: Tomatoes are picked when fruit is at prime ripeness. Peppers need to fully ripen to red, purple, or yellow (green peppers are not ripe). Squash should be harvested at full maturity and allowed to cure further in a warm dry place for another few weeks. Cucumbers must mature far beyond the eating stage to a deep golden color. I try to leave them in the field as long as possible while avoiding heavy frost or decay; once the plant has died there is no more energy going into the seed so it's good to harvest. Corn, beans, and peas need to remain in the field and mature as long as possible. Beet and carrots are biennial and should either be left in the ground to overwinter or harvested, topped, and repl...

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