If you’ve got a beautiful blooming garden and just wish your plants could go on forever, then collecting seeds and sowing them again can help your garden continue to thrive.
Growing plants from seeds is inexpensive and easy to do. While many people get put off at the thought of all the “work” involved, the reality is very different. With just a few steps, you can make sure you’re collecting seeds from your garden and preparing for the next Spring with all your favourite plants and flowers.
What seeds can I use?
The simple answer is – everything! You can collect and store seeds from trees, shrubs, flowers, aquatic plants, bulbs, grasses, vegetables and herbs. Anything you can grow in your garden can be used to grow next season’s produce or plants with just a few seeds.
When should I collect my seeds?
You need to watch your plants carefully to see when they are about to ripen and shed their seeds. Different plants do this in different seasons and timescales so it helps to have a little knowledge about the types of plants in your garden. Most plants release their seeds two months after blooming so if you see flowers dying off and withering, now is the time to keep watch for any seeds.
With fruits like blackberries and raspberries, you’re not just fighting against the elements to get your seeds but wildlife as well. Birds and even foxes love nibbling on these bushes so when they begin to fruit, use covers or netting to protect your harvest from curious creatures.
What plants should I use?
If you have a garden full of plants, the best ones to take seeds from are the healthiest and most vibrant. So look around at your options and pick the strawberry plant with the biggest, juiciest fruit and the flowers with the brightest colours for next year’s seeds.
How do I collect them?
Make sure it is a dry day and choose ripe plants. Pick the fruit or seed heads and then put them in a warm, dry place to completely dry out. An airing cupboard or even an oven on very low will help to speed this process up.
Once the seeds are completely dry, you should find it easy to remove them from the fruit or seed heads. Blackberries or soft fruit can be mashed through a sieve to release the seeds while they are still wet and you get the added bonus of a fruit coulis or sauce!
Don’t pick nuts off trees. Wait until they fall to the ground and then harvest them. This makes sure the seeds have finished forming and are ready to germinate.
Seeds should be in an airtight container with something that will remove moisture (such as uncooked rice). They need to be kept as dry as possible to make sure they don’t decay.It sounds strange, but putting your seeds in a fridge at about 5C will make them last longer.