An Encyclopedia of Seed Saving with Printable Seed Packets

A resource for everything you could need to know about seed saving, from vegetables to herbs to flowers. Learn how to save seeds properly.

A decorative SAVE SEEDS sign.

Seed saving (also known as “brown-bagging”) is an amazing skill to learn. Not only do you save money and control the quality of your plants from year to year, but it’s a very rewarding step towards self-sufficiency. Imagine this: No dashing to the store to discover all of the “good tomato seeds” have been sold out for the season; No wondering if a particular variety will grow well in your area.

Do you grow garlic? You may already be practicing seed-saving baby steps! You select the best cloves from the previous year’s harvest for planting when you grow your own garlic. You save them until the next planting season. That’s the first step! Learning to save just one or two types of seeds each season is a great way to build skills without becoming overwhelmed. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your seed collection.

What is Brown Bagging?

Wait until the plant’s flowers have begun to die back, and clip the heads into a paper bag. Once the flower heads have dried, shake the bag, and you will see the seeds separate from the dried plant matter. Pick out the best seeds and store them in a printable seed packet or a pill bottle.

Free printable seed packet for saving seeds.
Click the image to download this FREE printable seed packet.

Tip: In humid climates, consider using desiccants like silica gel packs in seed storage containers to absorb excess moisture and maintain seed viability.

Saving Vegetable Seeds

Are you just getting started with seed saving? Below is a wonderful resource for everything you need to know about saving various types of seeds. Be sure to check back from time to time, as I will be continuously adding to the list.

Easy Seed Savers

The home gardener can most reliably save these seeds, even if you’ve never saved seeds before.

Intermediate Seed Savers

Some plants are biennials, which means they produce seeds in the second growing season. Many of these require large populations and isolation from things that could cross-pollinate with them.

Hard Seed Savers

Some plants cross-pollinate; that means that if there is another variety around, they can pollinate each other, and the seeds you save will not be what you originally planted. These plants need to be isolated by large distances or hand-pollinated.

Saving Herb Seeds

Herb seeds are typically easy to save using a “brown bag” method and rarely cross-pollinate. These are great for those who are just getting started.

Saving Flower Seeds 

Flowers work in the same way as herbs do. They are typically easy to save by placing an organza bag or pantyhose over the flower head while it’s in the garden or brown beg them.

If they cross-pollinate or don’t breed true, it can often have some beautiful results and rarely cause any problems since most flowers are kept for ornamental purposes only. More care may need to be given if you are saving flowers for culinary or medicinal purposes.

Tip: To preserve genetic diversity, aim to save seeds from multiple plants within a species. This helps maintain a robust and adaptable plant population.

Frequently Asked Questions

While it’s possible, it’s not recommended. Many store-bought fruits and vegetables are hybrids, and their seeds may not produce plants true to the parent.

It varies, but many seeds can remain viable for several years if stored properly in a cool, dry place. Some seeds, like onions and leeks, have shorter storage lives.

Yes, you can. Ensure the plants have enough space for root development, and consider hand-pollination if you’re growing varieties that cross-pollinate.

No, not all flowers produce seeds. Some are sterile hybrids or cultivated varieties bred for ornamental purposes. Check the plant’s characteristics before attempting seed saving.

If you’ve found value in this blog post and enjoyed reading it, why not share it with your Pinterest community? Pin the image below and spread the love!

A Pinterest-friendly graphic for my seed saving encyclopedia.

Embracing the art of seed saving nurtures self-sufficiency and ensures a garden legacy that evolves with each passing season. From easy-to-save vegetable seeds for beginners to the meticulous process required for cross-pollinating varieties, the journey into seed preservation is fulfilling. So, gather your brown bags, explore the diverse world of seeds, and embark on a sustainable gardening odyssey, savoring the beauty of cultivating and preserving life from seed to harvest.

What’s your favorite seed-saving success story, or do you have any questions to share with the growing community? Your insights and experiences are the seeds that enrich our collective gardening wisdom!

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  1. smith wesley says:

    Very good choice of the article for the modern-day perspective and it really informative.

  2. smith wesley says:


  3. Elizabeth Aker says:

    Awesome post – literally saved so many of these links for my own saving!!! 😀 Thank you Jessica~!~!

  4. Malia @ Small Town Girl says:

    Great list!!! It’s nice to have it all in one post!

    1. Jessica Lane says:

      Keep checking back because I will be constantly adding to the list. If there are seeds you’re interested in saving that aren’t on the list, just let me know.

  5. Mike the Gardener says:

    Great list!

    Although I, me personally, I would put carrots in the tougher category. Only because it takes carrots up to two seasons to go to seed, so it will take some patience.

    1. Jessica Lane says:

      I’ll admit, I was on the fence about the placement of a few of these (carrots included). It’s rather subjective. I personally struggle with some “easy” ones and yet have no trouble with “hard” ones.