Growing your own basil seems to be a rite of passage for gardeners of all experience levels. If, like me, you’ve also fallen in love with basil, you simply must discover how to harvest basil seeds for next season.
Harvesting basil seeds isn’t my favorite part of growing basil, but it’s necessary and worthwhile. Sometimes I actually save the individual seeds while other times I simply pop the ripe seed pods into a paper bag until next time.
It’s actually not difficult to learn how to save seeds from basil at all. The process can just be a bit time-consuming in my humble opinion.
Here are my favorite tips on saving basil seeds. Hopefully it helps you to have a more bountiful garden year after year!
How to Harvest Basil Seeds from Plants
It’s easy to get the hang of how to harvest basil seeds. Now all you have to do is make some time to give it a whirl!
These are the steps I use when collecting basil seeds:
- Wait for a dry and sunny day to harvest seeds from your garden.
- Label a paper lunch bag with the type of basil and the year you’re collecting basil seeds.
- Open the bag and take it with you to your basil plants.
- Look for basil seed pods on stems that are entirely brown. If some are still green, the seeds may not be mature and viable for planting.
- Cut mature basil seed stems below the last sets of brown seed pods.
- Place the pods in the brown lunch bag.
- Continue harvesting until you’ve collected all the basil seeds you want to save.
- Repeat the process for any other varieties of basil that you’re growing. Bear in mind that some cross-pollination may occur between varieties. Time will tell!
How to Harvest Basil Seeds from Dried Seed Pods
To actually harvest basil seeds from the seed pods, follow these steps:
- Over a paper plate, break open each tiny seed pod to release the basil seeds.
- Tiny black seeds should spill out onto the plate. Brush them aside for storage.
- Continue breaking open basil seed pods until you have enough seeds set aside for saving.
- Choose an envelope, container, or bag to store basil seeds until you need them. Since basil seeds are so tiny, I generally keep them in a tiny zip-top plastic bag. Be sure they are fully dry first!
- Place the basil seeds in the bag, envelope, or container and label it with the type and date.
Sometimes saving the entire seed pod is much easier than setting the seeds free ahead of time. You can easily crack open the seed pods when you are ready to plant them.
Benefits of Harvesting Basil Seeds
Harvesting basil seeds brings quite a few benefits besides those you might expect.
- Free Seeds – Grow basil again next year.
- Selective Breeding – Save favorite varieties for future plantings.
- Sharing – Prolific seed harvests work well for seed swaps over the winter.
- Health Benefits – Also known as sabja seeds or tukmaria seeds, sweet basil seeds offer a range of potential health benefits. They are edible and may help with lowering cholesterol, increasing mineral intake, and adding fiber to your diet, among other basil seed benefits.
Please note – I find it quite tedious to harvest basil seeds from seed pods, so I usually save the strips of seed pods wholly intact. When I need to separate them for seed swaps or planting, I remove the seeds on an as-needed basis.
Harvesting Basil Seeds For The Win!
With so many great benefits, harvesting basil seeds is definitely worth your time. Even if you just save the seed pods like I do, you’ll love your fresh crop of basil in next year’s garden.
Now that you know how to collect basil seeds, you have no excuse about growing a bountiful herb garden! You can even grow basil indoors for your culinary use over the winter.
Do you have any tips or questions about how to harvest basil seeds? Share your stories, questions, or advice in our comments – we love hearing from you!