So you’ve grown some beautiful, healthy pea plants and you want to save some of the seeds to grow next year? It’s super easy to do! This tutorial will show you how to harvest pea seeds, how to save pea seeds, and how to store pea seeds for future plantings.
One thing to remember when you’re wanting to save pea seeds to plant the following year is to not shortchange yourself on an abundant harvest. I’ve done this to myself on more than one occasion: Wanting to make sure I had enough seeds to save I would refrain from picking too many and thus miss out enjoying the fresh peas in the meantime. Remember that pea plants are prolific and will continue producing as long as you’re harvesting. So go ahead and leave a few peas on the vines towards the end of the growing season, but don’t be afraid to harvest and enjoy those fresh peas now.
Choose Open-Pollinated Pea Varieties
When saving vegetables seeds you need to choose open-pollinated varieties instead of hybrids as open-pollinated will produce plants and fruit similar to the parent plant. Open-pollinated varieties may also be “heirloom” varieties.
When choosing a plant to save seeds from, choose your healthiest, most vigorous plant. You want to preserve the best genetics from which to propagate future plants.
When to Harvest Peas for Seed Saving
Leave a few pods on the vines to mature until they have turned yellow or brown and are dried out. The peas should be very hard inside of the pods and often when you shake a pod you will hear the seeds rattle inside, a sure sign that your peas are fully matured and ready to harvest for seed saving.
The color of the seeds will vary depending on the variety of pea but will range from tan, yellow, brown and light green.
Note, the pods don’t have to be completely yellowed and dried to harvest them. If the weather doesn’t permit you waiting any longer (i.e., rainy season has set in), it’s okay to harvest them if some are still a little green.
How to Harvest Pea Seeds for Seed Saving
Once the pods are sufficiently dried out it’s time to collect the seeds. Simply remove the pods and break them open to reveal and remove the seeds. Don’t let the seeds remain in the pods for too long or they may become moldy, especially if the pods are still a little damp.
Spread the seeds out on a baking tray or similar and let them dry for a few days or up to a couple of weeks to ensure they are fully dried and completely hard.
How to Store Pea Seeds for Future Plantings
Once your pea seeds are fully dried and hard you have several options for storing them: Place them in a glass jar, plastic container, ziplock bag or envelope. Whichever container you choose it is vital that the seeds be kept dry. I use and strongly encourage using silica moisture absorbers.
Store your seed packets in a cool, dry place.
Properly stored the pea seeds will remain viable for at least three years.