Category Archives: seed collection

Cyclamen seed and propagation.

In the depths of winter when everything is in it’s deep slumber, the trees look like great looming bones and not a flower is to be seen then a cheery cyclamen pops up pink, white, purple or red their bright colours seem to defy the darkness.

I think they are wonderful their patterned leaves and beautiful colours warm my heart. My mum treated me to some last year and they have been flowering all winter and even now in spring.

I was very excited to notice they have seed pods developing so I will be keeping a close eye on them and will wait to collect them. (I adore collecting seed it’s saves so much money, and I will be honest, it’s like collecting treasure.)

As you can see from my picture they aren’t quite ready yet, I have heard, when the time is right to collect as the stem which holds the seed starts to coil up like a cork screw bringing the seed closer to the ground. A clever little plant indeed! This is how they spread their enchanting carpets of rich foliage and captivating flowers through the woodlands. Clever, because by doing this they bag the space shadowing out the other seedlings with their foliage.

But what to do once the seed pod is ready to be picked? The seeds within will need soaking for 24 hrs and rinsed. Then pop them onto the surface of moist free draining low nutrient compost, covering with a moderate layer of compost which which help push the seed coat off the emerging seedling. They tray should be covered with black plastic as they require complete darkness for germination and a constant temperature, no higher than 15C. Once the seedling appear you should put them into a light position again maintaining a constant temperature. Also they like a bit of humidity this helps the pesky seed coat to fall off.

Fingers crossed these little fellas should be pricked out 8-10 weeks from sowing again into a low nutrient well drained compost. It’s important at this point that. The newly developing corm is just visible above the compost.

After about 8 weeks they should be pricked out into pots, don’t leave it too long! As their leaves will get all tangled together. Again when pricking out ensure their corm is just seen at the top of the compost and watering in will help. If they are too deep the corm may suffer from Botrytis. Be gentle when potting them up and place them into a well structured compost. The important thing is to keep them moist, not waterlogged; after all your hard work you don’t want the crowns to rot away.

To feed 2:1:1 NKP weekly, then once buds appear change to a 1:1:1 increasing to a 1:1:2 as the flowers develop.

Ok this might sound like a lot of hard work, but sometimes it’s good to have a little challenge, something to set your mind to; and when everything looks dark and grey in winter you can look forward to their majestic blooms to see you through to late spring.

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Sunflower seed collecting and Christmas

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As I’ve mentioned in the past, one of my favourite things to do is collect seeds. I find it so satisfying to keep them growing year after year. Carefully selecting the plants which do well in my plot. Each year it seems to look better and better.

I mentioned Christmas, you are probably curious to know why. I like to have a natural theme when decorating my house for the Yule celebrations. Pine cones, dried flowers, lush huge seed heads all to me sums up how a house should look.

Yule is celebrated in different ways around the world with one common theme. The sun/son is born, so what better Christmas tree top is a Christmas star made from the head of a sunflower!

It’s just how we do things in our house and since we are all passionate gardeners I thought I would share and maybe give you a little idea whilst your pottering around tidying and collecting seeds in your garden or plots.

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Collecting seed, what is your seed carbon footprint?

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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.

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Productive morning

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It felt like I didn’t do a great deal today but looking back I had a good potter.

I woke up early and made myself a new apron for pottering around my plot, please excuse my PJ’s but it was early!

Then, I once I decided to actually get changed. I took a few cuttings of English Lavender, French Lavender and Rosemary.

The job that took the longest was sorting out the seeds I have collected. They were nice and dry and ready to bag up for next season. But it took a while trying to sort out the seed from dried bits of twigs and buds but I managed to get through most of it.

All in all maybe not a hugely busy day, but fairly productive, not bad for a few hours really…