Saving Lettuce Seeds

Normally you want to pick all of your lettuce either before it gets bitter from days that are too warm or before it sends up a seed stalk (bolting). To save lettuce seeds, you need to let the plant grow flowers.

The lettuce has bolted

The lettuce has bolted

Lettuce flowers

Lettuce flowers

Partially dry group of lettuce flowers.

Partially dry group of lettuce flowers.

I cut the whole head of flowers off the lettuce when some of the seeds began to drop onto the ground and took it inside. I let it dry out  a bit more in a paper bag.

Find a dry flower

Find a dry flower

Break open the dry lettuce flower

Break open the dry lettuce flower

Here are your seeds!

Here are your seeds!

Lettuce Seeds

Lettuce Seeds

More lettuce than your family could eat.

More lettuce than your family could eat.

One bolted lettuce plant could easily yield enough lettuce seeds for your whole next year.

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8 responses to this post.

  1. This is good to know! I’m planning on letting a couple of my lettuce plants bolt for this reason! I’m glad you did this post on it! Good info!

    Reply

  2. You’re welcome. I have also read that it’s a good idea to wait and use the seeds from the LAST lettuce that bolts in your yard. If you collect your seeds from the plant that is first to send up a stalk, you’re naturally selecting FOR the trait of early bolting, which isn’t desirable. Just one more thing to keep in mind.

    Reply

  3. Excellent tip about picking the last lettuce to bolt, Jimmy! We have had a few freak hot days here, which ruined most of the greens this year.

    Reply

  4. Red, I am with you weather was too bad my greens didn’t even have a chance to bolt. Fortunately my fall crop is a little better.

    Reply

  5. Posted by rookie seed saver on November 6, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Can this be done with hybrid lettuce varieties? If not, where do I get seeds that are ‘true to seed’?

    Reply

    • I have heard most folks say that it does NOT work with hybrids, and a few who say that it either does or might work, as long as you don’t require the EXACT same lettuce the next time. Try it and see, but buy some heirloom seeds to work with next year as a backup.

      Reply

  6. Posted by Nancy Van Pelt on April 25, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Thanks for these great tips. Just confirming: I need to pull out my bolted plants to make room for summer garden. . . it’s okay to cut off and lay them out to dry instead of waiting for them to dry on the stalks??

    Reply

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