Often I speak about saving money, but today I want to talk about saving lettuce seeds! In June we went away for two weeks. My garden had all been planted and I had some wonderful Butter Crunch lettuce that was coming along nicely. It just wasn’t ready to pick yet.

When we got home the lettuce had bolted.Bolting lettuce Rather than pick it and feed it to the chickens I decided to let it go to seed and collect the seeds. Because the plants were isolated and I didn’t have any other lettuce going to seed I didn’t worry about cross-pollination. Lettuce is an inbreeding plant. Lettuce flowers form in heads of 10-25 individual florets. Each floret is one celled and produces one seed. Lettuce seeds ripen irregularly and are ready for harvest from 12-24 days after flowering. The easiest way to collect the most seeds is to shake the seed heads daily into a large grocery bag that is then stored in a dry area.

Seed head in paper bag

Seed head in paper bag

More than half of the seed volume will be white lettuce feathers and chaff.

Tiny lettuce seeds among the chaff.

Tiny lettuce seeds among the chaff.

It is best to use a fine mesh screen to separate the seeds.

Lettuce seeds will remain viable for three years when stored in a cool, dry, dark location. I have a bunch of little envelopes that are perfect for storing seeds. Be sure to label your seeds!

Storing lettuce seeds

Storing lettuce seeds

Hopefully next year I will plant these lettuce seeds and enjoy a nice harvest!greens, garden

If you are interested in learning how to save seeds one of the best books around is Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth.

Be inspired to garden year round or save your seeds.

Be inspired to garden year round or save your seeds.

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5 comments on “Saving Lettuce Seeds

Jamie @ Medium Sized Family on September 9, 2015 12:50 pm

Interesting. I always wondered about how you collect lettuce seed. Thanks for sharing!

angie on September 9, 2015 4:02 pm

I can so remember growing leaf lettuce in our family garden as a child, now as an adult but have never taken any time to give it an in depth look very interesting post you shared here
come see us at http://shopannies.blogspot.com

Latane Barton on September 9, 2015 11:41 pm

I love butter lettuce. I can see why you’d want to save the seed so you have lots and lots of it next spring.

Sarah Eliza on September 13, 2015 12:49 am

Wow, you’re so clever! Saving the seeds from your plants is pretty much the ultimate sustainability, right? Thank you for the helpful photos and tutorial!

Found you via OMHG’s WW. 🙂

Nancy Wolff on September 13, 2015 11:52 pm

So glad you stopped by Sarah, this week I’ll be sharing about saving tomato seeds!

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