Sunday, September 21, 2014

September - Time to collect seeds

September is the month where you get a true bumper crop of selection when it comes to seed. Last year's harsh winter claimed many casualties in the garden. Collecting seeds now can prevent the loss of many plants that self seed readily.

Yesterday I managed to collect seeds from:

Nasturtium (please don't pull off the seed pod, if they naturally come free with a little effort, then it's the right time to collect).

Coriander. I let these dry completely on the bolted growth. Half I usually leave overwinter to allow natural reseeding, half for culinary purposes. Taking a few in case this winter kills them off.

Don't eat all your snow peas. Allow some to go to seed. Wait to collect once the pod goes yellow.

I love this allium. I rather not divide this young plant yet. Instead I would like to try and...

grow from seed next spring. Seeds are now dry, still encased in the pod.

Hemerocallis is so easy to grow from seed. Be sure to collect the pod, not the flower bud. Note the difference.

One of the easiest perennials to grow from seed is this common Coreopsis. Just allow the seed pod to dry completely on the plant before collecting.

Once some seed begins to fall off, or eaten by birds, you know this is the right time to collect Rudbeckia seeds and...
...Echinacea seeds. Please leave some for the birds. Yellow Finch love them. They provide fabulous winter interest in large clumps.

With Gaillardia, I leave many pods alone for birds too. Because of that, sometimes nature does a better job in plant production than I do. Come late spring, I find baby Gaillardia all at the base of this plant. But just in case we have a tough winter like last, I've taken a few for safe measure.

With Common Rue (Ruta graveolens), I deadhead and harvest the seed, so it doesn't seed itself everywhere. This is a tough one to die off. However, collecting the seeds now gives me a chance to give seedlings in spring as gifts. So easy to propagate.

With this Siberian Iris, I enjoy leaving their seed pods for winter interest. Thankfully, the pod stems are rigid and sturdy enough that you can bend them over and collect without taking the attractive seed pods off.

The best way I find to make sure you don't get debris mixed in with seed for storing, is to just empty the pods onto a sheet of white paper. You can lightly blow off the unwanted bits and the seeds remain to be packaged away.

I hate waste and I learned this from my Mother. If you get return envelopes from your utility bills, save them by:
1. Licking the envelope closed. Then cut the envelope in half.
2. Cut about 1/2 inch away on one side of the newly cut area to make a fold over flap for the new envelope.
3. Flip over and crease.
4. Be sure to write the name of the plant and date ahead of time before inserting seed. Tape closed.

Store in a cool, dry, dark place. Ready for March (indoor propagation) or May (sown right outdoors).

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the pics! I bought rue at a garden show last spring (2016) and it has bloomed all winter, I live in middle Georgia. I wanted to know what a ripe seed pod looked like. mine are not there yet, they are still very fleshy and green, but now I know. Thanks!


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