Some time back I told you of my trip to Julie Helms' farm Wooly Acres--or what I like to call it, Dingleberry Farm-- and the topic of how to collect seeds came up. As Julie was not the first person to ask how this is done, I knew I had to plan a lesson of sorts so everybody can do their own collecting of seeds.
You may be asking why it is important to learn how to collect seeds. There are many reasons the best of which is when you collect your own seeds, you need never buy them. I did mention once or ten times that I'm rather frugal, haven't I? In the case of Heirloom seeds, once you buy one pack, plant them and they produce the fruit or flower, you can then collect the seeds and you'll never have to buy another seed of that type and you'll always have the seeds which produce that particular heirloom variety.
Hybrid seeds, however, don't work like that. I'll tell you about those some other time. For now, let's collect some flower seeds.
|Daisy seeds just right for the picking|
At Wooly Acres I spotted a nice patch of Daisies most of which were going to seed, but they weren't quite ready for picking. How I knew this is...well, you just kind of have to get a feeling for it. This is where practice and trail and error come into play. I saw that they still had a yellowish color and they were moist. Ripe seeds usually turn brown or black and are quite dry when they are fully ripe.
Daisy seeds are easy to tell if they are ripe just by touch. They should be dry and give way with a tiny bit of pressure. That is to say, the seed heads fall apart. You have to be careful with some seed heads at this point. They become a bit fragile and if you're not ready with a container or envelope in which to catch the seeds, you may lose them to the wind, the birds or other critters.
|Seed heads ready to collapse|
Of course, that's just the daisy which I just showed is easy to collect seeds from. Some flowers are not so easy to even spot where the seeds are hiding. We'll show you those next time.