Collecting seeds is like collecting treasure and you find yourself poking around for hours without noticing the time has gone by. I love it, it’s Almost like mediation staring at flowers and seed heads examining each one carefully collecting them etc, its lush.
I grow an awful lot on my plot, some of it gets eaten by slugs, my family and others I let run to seed.
Things like broad beans, we eat our fill and I leave some on the plant to get big and dry off. Same for peas, Runner and French beans too. Then we have things like sweat peas that I pick on every visit to prolong their wonderful blooms, but in every other couple I leave to turn into a pod for next year, especially so if the flower has smelt beautiful! This goes for the veggies too if my family have enjoyed a particular type of legume or salad etc. then keep it for next year!
It saves so much money too! Everyone says they grow their own so they aren’t wasting precious resources and being healthy, then they buy in huge amounts of seed! I wonder what the actual carbon foot print is of a marigold seed anyway or how far and how much energy went into that pea you plant next season?
So far I have seeds for Poach Eggg Plants, Nasturtium, Geranium, Poppies, Cosmos, Good King Henry, Peas, Angelica, Valerian, my goodness I could go on and on!
I collect them on a dry day, I am looking for seeds either in their pods or around the heads of old flowers. The trick is don’t be too hasty, and get a pencil out, gently nudge it if it falls out, no problem these are ready to go! Also look at the colour, are they bright green? Or is the colour changing to a dark brown or black? If they are, you can snip them off and put the whole flower in a paper bag to dry and fall out naturally.
One of my favourite seeds to collect are from marrows and pumpkins! That’s brilliant, one of my special dishes is stuffed marrow so scooping out the huge seeds and washing them to get the flesh from them and drying them on them window ledge on a paper towel is amazing a fab job to give to kids to do!
And lastly if you miss the boat and cannot find the seed from a certain plant, little tip, take a picture of the plant and especially the foliage. And usually around spring time the seedling will start to pop up. Don’t be too quick with your hoe give them a little while to grow, you will notice around where your plant is her little babies will grow. So carefully dig them out and pot up so you can move them on.
And most importantly of all! Label label label! Even the seed heads you are drying, before you move write what they are! Nothing worse than sitting in your potting shed in spring thinking what is this bag of seeds?
Its fun, and it’s also trail and error. Some seeds will work and others won’t. Maybe they weren’t ever going to grow anyway. Each year you will get more and more.
This year I am sending some of my Good King Henry seeds to a stately home and museum. They have been setting up a medieval and Victorian garden. I promised I would help out as they haven’t been able to get their seeds to play ball, it’s lovely when you can share with others.