Learn how to collect and store lettuce seeds so you can enjoy garden fresh lettuce and never have to buy lettuce seeds again.
Lettuce is one of my favorite things to grow in the garden – I can’t seem to get enough of fresh salads. If you like to grow lettuce, you will want to get in the habit of collecting and storing lettuce seeds.
By collecting and storing lettuce seeds, you will never have to buy lettuce seeds again. Not only can you have a continual supply of seeds to plant all season long, you can share with friends and family or trade them with others for different gardening seeds.
Lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables to grow in the garden from seed. For me, here in Arizona, one of my favorite things about growing lettuce is being able to plant it in late winter and grow through the summer. By doing that, I have fresh lettuce through the growing season.
How to Collect Lettuce Seeds
Collecting lettuce seeds isn’t exactly necessary though – lettuce will actually sow itself in the garden if you allow it to go to seed. But if you don’t want lettuce to sow itself, then just pull out the unwanted volunteers.
To collect lettuce seeds, allow the lettuce plant to bolt (flower). While waiting for the plant to bolt, you can still harvest the leaves from the plant. The flower will then dry out and have puffs of white coming out around the top.
You’ll want to pinch the flower heads off the plant (the flowers serve no purpose), and then drop them into a bucket or bag. I love using a paper bag. Once you get the bag inside with the flower heads, break the heads apart with your hands and the seeds will fall out. Lettuce seeds will be rather small and oval-shaped, in a variety of colors (white, brown and even dark gray).
Let the seeds dry completely before you store them.
Go a step further, and once the seeds are dry, store the seeds for use later on. You can use your own storage containers or baggies, here are a few ideas:
- plastic snack zip top bags
- spice jars
- baby food jars
- pill bottles
- small envelopes
- old film canisters
- small 2 oz takeout containers
Whatever your method of storage, you’ll want to make sure the seeds are completely dry. If there is any moisture, the seeds will rot – making them invalid for planting.
It might be hard to get rid of the fluffy flowery chaff when you are separating the seeds, but don’t panic. That chaff won’t affect the ability of the seeds to germinate.