Most people get a kick out of their morning chai/coffee. Gardeners are strange.. They get a kick out of germinating seeds.. I’m sure none of you reading will disagree.. Seeds are life..Literally! My morning high is going out in the garden to check which seeds have germinated. Today, it’s the dhaniya /coriander btw. So, a few days ago I was cleaning up the winter left-overs ( you know what I mean) and thought of collecting a few seeds for the next season. Most of my plants were lost this season since I traveled excessively and the mali (garden help) uprooted them before they could set seeds. Some did, like hollyhock, calendula, stocks, petunias & geraniums. If you are a beginner gardener, my way of saving seeds from annuals *might* help you do it a bit more efficiently. Let’s begin & learn..
HOW TO SAVE SEEDS FOR THE NEXT YEAR.
HOW TO SAVE SEEDS – THINGS TO CONSIDER
After the season is almost over, let the blooms dry out completely. A seed pod forms out of a dried out flower. While watering, take care not to wet the developing seed pod. Every bloom has a different kind of seed pod. Allow it to turn almost brown. Press or open slightly to check if seeds have formed.
The seeds must not appear green or raw. Allow the pod to mature.
HOW TO SAVE SEEDS – DIFFERENT WAYS TO COLLECT SEEDS
If you are very particular about not wasting any seeds at all, consider tying a light fabric over the seed pod so that even if it spills open, the seeds are collected. You may use a small mesh fabric pouch for this purpose. This is usually applicable when you want to collect special seeds like adeniums, gerbera etc which you cannot afford to lose.
For regular annuals, even a single plant produces seeds in abundance, so do not worry about losing some. They will fall somewhere in your garden anyhow and come up next year on their own.
With some experience, you will learn to identify when a seed pod is ready to explode open. Keep an eye. At this point, collect all the seed pods in a bowl. Do not collect seed pods from infected parts, if any. Allow them to dry out indoors for 2-3 days.
HOW TO SAVE SEEDS – EASY WAY TO SEPARATE THE SEEDS FROM HUSK
The best method is to wear thin gloves (I’m saying this because I’ve had my hands covered in tiny thorns from hollyhock pods) and slightly crush the seed pods. This will separate the husk from the seeds.
Some seed pods are stubborn and do not release all the seeds this way. For that, I have a *ahem* genius method.
Put them in a mixie jar with a PLASTIC blade. I repeat, PLASTIC. We only want to separate the seeds, not turn them into chutney!
HOW TO SAVE SEEDS – EASY WAY TO CLEAN THE SEEDS
Now, you can remove some of the husk by hand and keep the seeds as they are. Dried husk does no harm at all. Or, you may be a fanatic like me and want to clean up saved seeds a bit more. Let’s strain then!
This takes a bit of intelligence. Are the seeds bigger or the residue? First I am using a perforated mesh to separate the seeds & powder debris from the larger chunks.
Then I am using a fine strainer to remove the powdery residue from the seeds.
The little leftover residue is then removed by hand.
TA-DA!!! Here we have clean & dry, ready-to-store seeds saved at home.
Keep them in an airtight container or a paper bag till the next season and you’re good to go! Save you seeds first, thank me later.
Saved seeds last year but having trouble identifying them? Here’s help. SEED IDENTIFICATION GUIDE FOR ANNUAL FLOWER SEEDS HERE & HERE.
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