Sunday, 5 September 2010

Saving Seeds From the Garden

Some seeds drying on coffee filters...

Some drying in a sieve or colander...

I save as many seeds as I can each year for planting in the next Spring. Actually, I package and sell many as well, but that's not the point of this post. : )
Harvesting seed heads and pods is easy to do. It's also best done later in the day when there is less chance of moisture. That's a sure killer to any seeds as they'll just rot.
I tend to dry them out completely for a couple of weeks. Laying them out on a coffee filter works, or in a sieve or drainer, since the air can get all around and there's less chance of mold or rot. Some flower heads can be placed in paper bags and left to dry for a few weeks. The seeds can be separated later.
I've sometimes used a window screen as well. Laying hosta seed pods on there to dry works very well.
Storing seeds is pretty easy. I use envelopes for some, and purchase spice jars inexpensively from dollar stores, both of which can be easily labelled. They should then be stored in a dry place, but not in a sunny spot. A cupboard works well.
The key really is to making sure they're properly labelled, and of course, making sure they're absolutely dry before containing them. Can't specify this enough!
Have fun, save and share your seeds, especially those heirlooms, and save some money next year!
Happy Gardening!


The Mindful Merchant said...

Thank you for the tips - very helpful. Do you know how long seeds last? I found some lavatera seeds from last year that I forgot about. Will they be fine next spring?

Wall Flower Studio said...

Hi Laura. Thanks for a great question. This is just an educated guess on my part, but from my experience, I'd say they'll likely still be fine, depending on how they've been stored.
After my Uncle Al passed away, I found many varieties of seeds he'd saved at his farm and they'd been in the kitchen cupboard for years. Probably in some cases, 20 years. Hollyhocks, sweet william, and several others. I planted many and was very successful in propagating them. I can tell you that each year, and I think this is especially true for vegetables, the rate of propagation will drop. So, to make a long story short, try them, and I bet at least some will grow! Let me know, too! I'd love to hear about it next year! : )