My garden has struggled along this year. I have seen quite a few plants go to seed quickly this year instead of producing for me. While having plants go to seed isn’t something I want to happen, when it does I try to take advantage of those seeds and save them to plant the next year in our garden.
Seed Saving, Method
My chive plant always produces these lovely purple flowers. The flowers are great to use in salads for a nice onion/garlic flavor and to add color. But when the flowers go to see I go about collecting the seeds to save.
To collect the seeds I have changed my methods over the past few years. I used to shake the seeds into my hand and then place them into a bag and label. But sometimes the seeds would be scattered by the wind and I would get plants springing up in the spring where I would rather not have them.
The method I use now saves me a step and keep the seeds from scattering. I just place the seed head into a zipper bag. Zip it as far closed as I can and then give the head a shake or two. The seeds fall out and into the bag and not onto the ground.
I usually don’t store them in the zipper bags but I place the seeds into envelopes labeled with the year collected and the type of seeds. I then store them in the refrigerator until I am ready to use them the next year. This method works well with any plants that produce seed heads.
Seed Saving, Carrots
I wanted to give seed saving a try for carrots. But with carrots you don’t get any seeds until the second year. So I planted my carrots but when I harvested them in the fall, I left a few in over the winter. When spring came the carrots began to grow again. I guess I missed a few carrots when I harvested them, I ended up leaving in about 6 instead of just one or two. The carrots grew and then produced flowers. These flowers eventually turned into flower heads full of seeds. I only harvested two flowers but now I have enough seeds for probably the next 5 years. So my experiment really paid off.
Seed Saving, Flowers
To save seeds off of the flowers in your garden let the flowers die off and then let the seed pod that forms dry a little. Just as it starts to burst open to distribute the seeds collect them into a bag. I have had good luck with Pansies, Snap Dragons, and quite a few other flowers as well. I have collected seeds from Hostas too.
Seed Saving, Peas and Beans
With beans and peas you want to leave a pea or bean on the plant and let them dry. Once the pod is dry you can then remove them from the plant and remove the seeds from the pod to save them for next year. Be sure to mark on each of the envelopes what kind of peas or beans seeds that are in the envelope. I grow both bush beans and peas but I also grow the pole type too, so I would hate to mix them up.
Seed Saving, Tomatoes and Peppers
For peppers and tomatoes, I just open up the vegetable, remove the seeds and then place the seeds on a paper towel. I let them dry and take the dried seeds and store them in the refrigerator. The tomato seeds do tend to stick to the paper towel so I just try to peel them off as best I can. Usually I only need to save seeds out of one tomato, of each kind I grow, since there are so many seeds in each one.
Seed saving does take a little time and good timing but if you tend to grow the same type of plants each year saving seeds could save you some money.