Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fall is Great Time to Collect Seeds

Fall is a great time to collect seeds for next year's garden.  Some of the flowers/plants in your yard that are easy to collect seeds from are hosta, morning glories, tiger lilies, annuals such as marigolds, etc.  I usually go around the my yard armed with paper envelopes (you can use cheap dollar store envelopes, or make your own out of recycled magazine pages or paper following a pattern such as this) and pens/markers.  I keep the seeds in paper envelopes to make sure they are fully dried out, if there is some moisture still in them and you place them in plastic bags they will grow mold.  Once the seeds are collected I keep them in my unheated garage (they could also be kept in a refrigerator for a short time) until I am ready to use them again in spring.  Perennials seeds may require a cold stratification, where you store them in the refrigerator in a bag with something like sphagnum moss that has been moistened.  You can also winter sow a lot of perennial seeds.  By winter sow, I mean to plant them in containers and place them outside in winter and allow the natural elements do their thing.  I have winter sowed hosta and coneflowers with success.  I take a plastic bottle or old milk gallon and cut it in half.  I put a slightly moist sterilized soil in the bottom of the container and plant the seed(s), and then use duct tape to join the top and bottom halves of the containers once again.  Make sure the cap is off of the container  so it can collect rain or snow and place outside.  The container acts as a small greenhouse, and in spring when they plants are ready they will start to germinate.
The are the "seeds" (really bulbils) from my double tiger lilies.
Close up of tiger lily bulbil. These can be planted directly in the ground or stored with cold stratification method described above.
Scarlet Runner Bean seeds and Four o'clock seeds
Harvesting Scarlet Runner Bean Seeds.
Seeds inside the pods of my hardy hibiscus.
Blackberry lily seeds.
Four O'Clock seeds
Hosta seeds (sorry for fuzzy picture my husband has my camera hunting with him) they are the papery black seeds found inside the pods.

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