Seed saving season is here and if you have not removed the spent flowers off your spring blooming plants and vegetables you can let ripen and save them yourself. It is fun, easy and can be very addicting!
What you need to get started:
- A container to put seed heads and stems into
- Garden scissors for clipping off seed heads.
- Coffee filters (get at a dollar store), paper towels or news paper for drying seeds on before storing
- Pencil/pen…LABEL THOSE SEEDS! You will forget if you don’t…trust me.
- Wire strainers…for separating seed from other plant debris which may harbor pests and draw unwanted moisture.
- Envelopes…homemade, recycled seed packets or coin envelopes (my favorite)
- Storage container (i.e. box, tin or a jar).
- Cool, dark, dry storage area. An airtight container in the fridge or a box or tin in a dark cool closet work well or an insulated garage…just be ware that heat can kill seed.
- Diatomaceous earth…to dust bean seeds and others that my draw weevils or other insects.
- Desiccant packet (I use ones found in shoeboxes or pill bottles) to excess moisture during storage.
Seeds from flowers, including leafy vegetables, are ready to be collected when the stems begin to dry and seed heads are dry and the seeds change color from a whitish color or green to brown, black or white.
How you separate seed from the plant depends on what type of structure holds the seeds. Here are some examples from my garden.
Sometimes its better to cut flower stems from the plant than gathering just the heads. Lettuce is a good example as it is related to Dandelion and also has that milky sap which is sticky and needs to dry out before gathering the seeds.
To learn more read, “Seed Sowing and Saving” by Carole B. Turner, includes information on flowers, herbs and vegetables.
And remember to leave some for the birds to eat too!