Seed collecting at the end of the summer is quite interesting, it’s like a battle of wills. Not wanting to collect the seeds before they are ready is easy when it’s a cup-shaped flower which opens and holds the seeds, but there are flowers which no matter how carefully you watch them, they seem to only release the seeds when your back is turned. I have managed to collect seeds from many plants I would be happy to grow again. Phacelia Tanacetifolia is a bee-friendly plant and after collecting flower heads, I put them in a paper bag to dry out, then rubbed them between my hands to loosen the seed pods. The end result was a mix of seeds and empty pods. To separate them, I put them in a bowl of water, the seeds sank to the bottom and the chaff floated so could easily be scooped out and the remaining seeds dried out, ready for next year.
Nasturtium seeds are recognisable as clusters of plump little pea-sized seeds. They will self-seed anywhere but collected seeds can either be dried for planting elsewhere, or pickled as poor man’s capers. Fuchsia is so easy to propagate by cuttings it’s not really worth collecting berries to get their seeds, just eat them instead. Their berries are dark oval-shaped, rich in vitamin C and antioxidants and if in sufficient quantities, you can make jam with them.
I tried so hard to capture the seeds of the exploding Achocha, they really do explode and the seeds are fired out at such velocity, you don’t see it happening. I only managed to collect five seeds by trapping the fruit in a paper bag. My first attempt with that method failed because it blew itself out the bag, I succeeded the second time by double clamping the bag to the fruit stem. No matter how I poked and prodded, I have yet to see any of them pop. The suppliers of the seeds have now announced how they have succeeded – they grab the fruit from behind.
I really don’t understand why more people don’t like gardening, there’s never a dull moment.
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