Saving Your Own Seeds

Yes, we sell seeds, but we also encourage seed saving. When you collect your own seed you need to work with nature and watch plants daily in order to catch the ripe seed before the wind whisks it away or the plant releases it to the soil.

How do you know when the seed is ripe and ready to collect? If the seed comes away in your hand, it is ready to collect. If the seed is in a pod or a capsule, watch for the first pod to split and then collect the remaining pods, place in a paper bag, and store in a cool dry place to let the seeds finish ripening. You can also collect the whole seed-head and leave them to dry until the seeds can be separated–then simply shake or cut seeds into paper bags. Tall stems can be cut and bundled, the heads placed in a paper bag with the neck tied and then hung upside down by the stems in a cool dry place. As the heads dry, many of the seeds will fall into the bag. Drying time ranges from one week to one month.

Collected seeds need to be completely dry to prevent rot and fungal disease and to help separate the seed from surrounding material which can be broken up easily when the seed is dry. The best way to dry seeds is to place them in a thin layer in open containers in a dry well-ventilated room. High temperatures may damage the embryo, thus reducing germination, so do not use the greenhouse for drying.

Next, clean your seeds to improve germination. Material surrounding the seed needs to be removed to expose the seed itself. In some cases, this requires patience, tweezers, and a sieve. Store seeds in small envelopes or mason jars. Most seeds should last for at least 12 months under good conditions. Remember to label all seeds as soon as you have collected them.

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