Collecting seed is not only easy but it’s a great way to create new plants for FREE. October is a good time to look and see what seed you might collect and either sow straight away or store indoors for spring sowing. Here are my tips to help you collect seed successfully:
• Whilst the flowers are blooming note what plants you might like to collect the seed from. Think about what has performed well, what colours you have liked or what veg has been delicious. You can tie a ribbon around a flower that you would like to collect the seed from as a reminder for later.
• Once the flowers have begun to fade or drop, the seedpods will emerge. Wait until they have turned from green to brown so they will be easier to split.
• Many people collect seed as they are deadheading their plants. Collect some seedpods but give the others a shake onto the ground to encourage them to grow where they land.
• Collect seed on a dry and sunny day and place the seedpods into a paper bag. Paper is best as you want to avoid any moisture or dampness getting into the seeds and making them rot in storage.
• Each different plant should have its own bag and label them if you’re collecting a few as you don’t want to get confused as to which seed is which!
• Once indoors leave the paper bags and their contents to dry on a warm windowsill or in an airing cupboard for a day or two.
• To store, remove the seedpod casing (chaff) and place in a labelled paper envelope in an airtight container and store in a cool place. I have found that a Quality Street tin is perfect for the job!
• Seeds from fleshy fruit such as tomatoes, chillies or peppers can be collected ‘wet’. Place the seeds on a piece of paper towel on the windowsill to dry out and then follow the instructions for storage as above.
Seed collecting and storing is a great project for children. If you have a magnifying glass, they will find it fascinating to look at the different seeds up close to see their shapes and sizes.
Collecting seed from your favourite plants is very rewarding and even more so if you share with friends and family. Look out for a local ‘Seed Swap’ in January – February time as most gardeners save and store way too much seed for them to use themselves and usually are happy to swap seeds and plant stories.
Let me know how you get on or if you have any questions just email me at:firstname.lastname@example.org