Intermediate Seed Saving Tips – Don Tipping








Great Big Ideas & Takeaways:

  • TUTORIAL: the basics of seed selection & breeding
  • Advance your seed saving skills
  • Surprising insect pollinators… beyond bees!
  • A practical look at how local climate affects your seed saving.
  • Dry seeded vs. wet seeded crops—the difference.
  • Wind vs. insect pollinated food crops.
  • Biennial vs. annual seed producers.
  • Seed savings tips by plant family

About The Speaker:

Don Tipping has been offering hands-on, practical workshops at Seven Seeds Farm since 1997.

Seven Seeds Farm is a small, organic family farm in the Siskiyou Mountains of SW Oregon; situated at 2,000 feet elevation on a 7,000-foot-tall-forested mountain. The farm produces fruits, vegetables, seeds, herbs, wool, eggs, and lamb and has been designed to function as a self-contained, life-regenerating organism with waste products being recycled and feeding other elements of the system.

Lauded as one of the best examples of a small productive Biodynamic and Permaculture farm in the Northwest by many, Seven Seeds Farm helps mentor new farmers through internships and workshops.

In 2009, Siskiyou Seeds, a bioregional organic seed company, began operating off the farm, as well.


QUESTION:   Do you consider yourself a beginner, intermediate, or expert seed saver? What are some of your favorite seeds to save, and why?



    just starting to save seeds this year. Didn’t have enough information on techniques until now.

  2. Marjory WIldcraft

    Whew, you know what? I still consider myself a beginner! There is so much to learn. I just try to do a little bit each year, and focus on only a couple of species that I truly love.

  3. Prabhakar

    The video doesn’t play.

    1. Jimerson (Post author)

      Hello Prabhakar! This is likely do to an old/unsupported browser. Do you have an alternate browser you might try with, such as Chrome?

  4. sharon carson

    This is excellent …so articulate and passionate . I have saved seeds since I was a child following my Swiss grandmother around the garden.I consider myself an intermediate seed saver.I love to barter with others and try new things .I like saving chinese wild yam,many medicinal herbs and lately dying herbs. I just sold my antique corn sheller and I am making another batch of Daymon Morgan Kentucky Butcher Cornbread with my own seed today. I am so grateful to be able to grow most of my food with my own seed

  5. Brian

    Enjoyed the Presentation. Great slides and good info. thanks

  6. KP

    Is storing seeds in the freezer a good way to save seeds?

    1. FTS

      If they are well dried. I have read that if the moisture content of the seed is too high freezing can damage the seed. As Don Tipping said, cool, dark and dry are the most important things. Unless you are trying for very extended seed storage you probably don’t need to use the freezer.

    2. Paul

      Freezing will kill most seed

  7. Bonnie Krause-Gams

    I admire people who show such dedication to our earth. You are my angels.
    Thank you for sharing all your knowledge with the rest of us. I have been saving seeds for years, but never seem to be able to capture the broccoli seeds.
    That is why we have people
    Iike you.

  8. Barb Herron

    Very informative program, I am just starting to save seeds. I think that information will broaden my knowledge base.

  9. Don Tipping

    I am grateful to share my passion for seeds here – happy to answer any specific questions you may have about seed saving

  10. Kita

    I started a backyard garden for the first time this year. I got expensive seeds from Lowe’s, Home Depot, Menards etc. I also got seed from Dollar Tree and I saved some from bell peppers,tomatoes etc that we eat from the store.

    I found the seeds that done the best in my garden came from the Dollar Tree (Spanish Hot Peppers) and the ones we dried out of food we ate. The most expensive seeds we had problems getting going.

    We will be drying more of our seeds from next years planting instead of buying most of them.

    1. Shira Nahari

      I would definitely not want to buy seeds from or even shop at stores like Home Depot that use insecticides that kill bees — at least until they fulfill their stated promise to stop this dangerous practice.

  11. Pop

    I enjoyed learning about which ones will cross pollinate and which won’t, as well as adding/using “time” as an element to space them for seed saving.

  12. Dianne

    THe presentations aren’t playing for me. THey start for a few seconds and stop

  13. Debra Miller

    I am an intermediate seed saver. I am still learning about the best way to save seeds, not so much as to where the seeds are located on the plant. I live in North Alabama, and easily save beans (bush & lima), peas (snap and crowder), Marigolds, dill, corn, coneflowers, garlic and onions. I am trying peppers and tomatoes this year, along with cucumber and spaghetti squash. Unfortunately, I am limited to several raised beds.

    I don’t seem to have a a problem with mold.

    I was also looking for information on the preservation methods that work best.

    Please correct some spelling and formatting errors on your presentation.

    I learned about the cross pollination here.

    Thank you!

  14. Heather

    After my red garlic has produced seed heads, what next? How can I grow more bulbs from the seed, instead of just pulling apart the bulbs and planting the individual cloves?

    1. Shira Nahari

      Don suggests that using cloves is really the only way to go. Apparently seeds will work but its very complicated.

  15. nancy

    well presented and informative. Thanks!

  16. Kenny Auge

    Video doesn’t play

  17. Chele

    Thank you, Don for all that amazing information!! Fabulous presentation and as always, I learned so much more.

  18. Lydia

    Excellent presentation with beautiful pictures and good info. I consider myself an intermediate seed saver and have shared seeds with a local exchange and Seed Savers Exchange. I have specialized in Paddy Pan squash, so I do not grow any other Pepo squash. A few years ago one squash plant had a fruit that was speckled with dark green splotches and I saved that pod for it’s seeds, planting some that year and in the following year. So far only the pods (mature fruits) of random plants show this characteristic, while the small edible fruits are light green. Next year I’m only planting seeds from the speckled pods, hoping to increase this interesting characteristic in the earlier fruit. I hope that will not cause problems with inbreeding depression, but how else are new varieties developed? Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm and knowledge.

  19. Nadine

    I had not considered saving seeds this year because I am so new to gardening;however, I had amazing tomatoes and would like to have them again next year. My problem is that the only tomatoes left are those immature ones that didn’t ripen as the weather changed. Are seeds from these tomatoes worth drying and planting next year or are the too immature? Thank you for such great information.

    1. FTS

      You could try bringing them in and seeing if the tomatoes will ripen inside. Then squeeze the seeds and gel into a container, add a little water, let them ferment 3-4 days, stir and rinse to separate out the seeds. If the seeds float they are not mature enough, if they sink they are probably good. No guarantees, but you might want to give it a try.

  20. chynsia

    I would like to see this over again as well.

  21. Josette

    I save flower seeds, actually I borrow a few as I see them around the neighborhood! I mix them all together in a paper bag and toss them onto my circular flowerbed in the back yard.

  22. Pamela

    Wow! Thank you for so much valuable information. I learned a lot and I also learned I have a lot to learn!

  23. FTS

    I consider myself an intermediate see saver having saved seeds from beans(several different types), peas, tomatoes, lettuce, marigolds, bunching onions, poppys, amaranth,winter squash and a few others. I have read and listened to a lot of Carol Deppe’s books and interviews and she talks a lot about becoming a good seed saver and things to be aware of with different types of plants. She really goes into technique. Her book the Resilient Gardner would be a good place to start.

  24. Sally


  25. Ferdi F

    Miss Marjory, thank you for organizing this summit, I learned a lot.

  26. Dayna McDaniel

    Nice presentation, well organized, easy to follow, good concepts. I am an expert seed saver.

  27. Pamela

    thank you sooo much. learning in the different “families” “Genus” and “Species” was so interesting to me. You teach in a way that makes it easy to mentally process ad takes the confusion totally out of it.This was crucial nd benefitial. thank you aain.

  28. Leza

    Excellent info and presentation! Thank you, Don and Marjory!

  29. Lynita

    This is one of the most informative videos I have ever seen. Packed with great seed saving info. I have learned so much. For some reason I have having a problem finishing playing the video. When I get to 56:04 it jumps back to the beginning.

  30. Servants of the Harvest

    Very organized and informative presentation. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this video. Thank you for all you are doing in your community and for taking the time to share your passion with others through this summit.

  31. Nan Fischer

    Thanks, Don! I just finished Seed School and learned about seed saving within families. This is timely and informative.

  32. Karen

    Thank you for all the information. You mentioned saving seeds from 100 plants to ensure proper genetic population. What would you suggest for gardeners with a smaller operation. Is there a percentage that could be used. For instance growing 100 sunflower plants, how many heads should be saved. Thank you so much for your time.

  33. Debora Burger

    Thank you for the presentation. I really enjoyed it even though I am really a beginner. I took notes and it was very informative but I would love to have a PDF of the presentation if possible.

    Thank you.

    Debora in Georgia

  34. Jeana

    What a fantastic presentation! I’m definitely a beginner but I found this to be so helpful. It was great to get an idea of how your operation works too! I just started buying from johnnys selected seeds but I will definitely be checking out your products too! Thanks again.

  35. laurie

    Great info – I learned a lot and had several “aha” moments. I’ve been reading about seed saving but hearing Don talk it through helped it to make more sense to me. Thanks for sharing this!

  36. Sandy

    Drat! I was really enjoying this talk and suddenly lost audio then internet service. I took a formal class once uyears ago when as a renter there were limits on what I could grow. Could not keep up with that instructo. Several years more of gardening, practicing with simple seed saving methods and the deep connection with nature Mr. Tipping obviously feels is making this a very engaging lecture. Visuals are wonderful, too. Was going to comment that I have grown garlic from seed when I had only one smallish clove each of a few obscure varieties that I grew to one bulb each each. I let the scapes develop and flower. Loved the sphere fat little seeds that resulted. I’ve read complex instructions, but planting the seed in the fall with my other garlic cloves worked fine. They grow a little more slowly, and the resulting bulbs were pretty small. I planted the cloves from those second generation bulbs and they grew bigger bulbs. Generation three is in the ground now. I think I did this with a clove of Korean red and a clove of Spanish or Cuban garlic. both are on the spicy side, are great when a more intense piquancy is desirable.

  37. Jacqui

    Excellent presentation Don, thank you. As a lifelong gardener and seed saver, I really enjoyed watching and listening to this. I live in Eastern WA now for several years, having lived and gardened across much of US. I look forward to checking out your seed catalog and what I could use on this side of the mts.

  38. Diana Duke

    Wow! Amazing information. I am working on cleaning all of my seed next week….so I am super excited about it.

    Also, looking into your website info now. Thank you so much!

  39. Shelia

    Hummingbirds are pollinators also. =)

  40. George Debs

    So, considering the fact that best-practice is to collect from a larger population, does that mean that smaller gardens (mine is only several square meters) aren’t the best space to collect seeds in?
    Are there certain plants more suitable to narrow their gene pool in a smaller garden?

  41. Deanna

    I seemingly can’t rate this presentation (logistical problems?) – but would give it highest marks. Thank you for the info. And thank you for all you do. You ROCK, Don Tipping!

  42. Lynita

    We are growing corn in a small garden and want to save seed. We could only obtain 8 seeds to plant of a special white tender sweet corn. Where we live in rural South America people don’t grow tender fresh corn so seeds aren’t locally available. We can only buy tiny quantities from an organic farm 1000 miles away from us. Is there anything we can do to avoid inbred depression? Also we are hand pollinating to insure success with a small population. Is it better for the tassels of one corn stalk to not pollinate it’s own ears but rather pollinate other neighboring stalk ears to insure more genetic diversity?
    By the way I changed my browser and was able to finish viewing this presentation.

  43. Lynne Aldridge

    Fantastic talk. I’ve made ten pages of notes to refer to through next year

  44. Simon

    Have the videos been removed? This video stopped playing about 15 minutes ago. I tried restarting my browser. I also tried two other videos and two other devices.

  45. Kerry

    Yes, I can’t listen either–I started trying this video about 5:45 west coast time, so should have had 15 minutes. As many others have said, it just keeps starting and stopping. Hopefully this one will be repeated during the encore days, since it seems that it was very highly rated. I don’t think it’s my browser–I watched several videos yesterday with no issues.

  46. Fayette

    What I could hear was fascinating. I have been having issues with every presentation with it freezing. I keep refreshing the page and it works for 30 seconds and then freezes again. I was trying to listen to this one and after two hours I gave up at minute 40. It is no better this morning. It will not play at all. I hope to catch it on encore day.

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