Collecting and saving seeds from your home grown crops and flowers is a fun and rewarding way to grow more of your favourite plants the following season and save a small fortune on buying new packets of seeds.
Here are a few of our Gardening Angels top tips on creating your own home grown seed collection.
1) Before you’ve even harvest your first seed, take good care of your plants to ensure they produce the best quality seeds. Start of your plants in good quality soil, and make sure your plants receive the right balance of water to avoid water stress with the right watering essentials.
Plants that receive the perfect balance of water and nutrients are healthier and stronger, helping them to also have a greater resistance to pests and diseases. Most problems occur when plants receive too much water or too little so knowing how much to provide usually involves a little guesswork and green fingers. Take a look at our award-winning self-watering planters.
2) Collect seeds when they are fully ripe. If you harvest too early your seeds may not have finished developing the fats and starch needed to feed young seedlings as they begin to grow. If you harvest too late your ripe seed may blow away, drop off and be lost within the soil or even germinate prematurely inside the overripe fruit.
3) Collect seeds on a dry day when there is no moisture or dew on the seed head using a strong pair of scissors or a sharp pair of secateurs. Make sure they are thoroughly dry before you store them in a cool, dry spot.
'Wet’ seeds are typically contained within a fruit. Some seeds from wet seeded crops can be harvested in the same way as harvesting ripe fruit.
If you’re growing berries with a hard skin such as Peonies you can sow them as they are. For fleshy varieties of berries, simply remove the flesh and just sow the seeds.
For other crops such as cucumbers may not contain ripe seeds when the crop is ready to eat. When the seeds are ripe within these crops, the fruit itself may taste sour and you might not want to eat it!
Dry seeds are really easy to harvest with a little TLC. Collect the seeds when fully mature from seeds in ‘pods’ so you don’t get caught off guard by seeds bursting & exploding. Simply snip off the whole seed head into a bag and then get rid of unwanted stems and soil later.
Seeds from ‘Shakers’ such as poppy pods are normally ripe when small holes appear near the top and seed will fall out with the slightest touch. Cover the ripe ‘shaker’ pod with a paper bag and then snip it off the plant to avoid losing any seeds.
Watch out for ‘Composite Seed Heads' with dandelion like heads. When the seeds start to fall from the seed head, snip and store in a paper bag before they take flight.
When harvesting large seed heads such as ‘Umbellifers’ which hold their seeds in small clusters, place the whole head in a bag. With Agapanthus, also known as African lily, remove the tadpole like seeds individually.
1) Avoid storing seeds in plastic bags. Seeds will sweat and become damp resulting in rotten seeds.
2) Old envelopes or recycled paper bags with no holes or open seams are ideal for storing harvested seeds.
3) Store seed envelopes in an airtight tin or Seed Storage Tin. You can even hang them up in bags in a cool dry place with good air circulation. Make sure you keep your seeds out of direct sunlight.
4) Don’t forget to label your seeds with the plant name and the date you collected them!
5) If you’re collecting large seed heads, store them in a cardboard box. However wait until your seeds are completely dry before closing the lid.
The Complete Guide To Saving Seeds shows exactly how to collect, save, and cultivate the seeds from more than 300 vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers, trees, and shrubs.
Covers seed biology, harvesting, cleaning and storage, as well as propagation and care for new seedlings.
Our Gardening Angels are here to help you win the war on pests! Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any questions on 0845 602 3774 or drop us an email at email@example.com. We're always happy to help!