Years ago gardeners and farmers used to save all their own seed every year from their best plants, building up a supply of strong, healthy plants that they could rely on for plenty of crops and flowers. Although we don’t have to do this now when there’s such a vast choice of seeds available from garden centres and via the internet, saving seeds from your own garden is so easy:
- You get free plants, with just a little effort.
- You’ve had proof that the plants will grow well in your garden.
- It’s nice to swap seeds with other gardeners.
- It’s gardening sustainably.
- It’s easy, did I mention that?
Interesting results: Your seed collection may result in plants that are different from their parents if they have been pollinated with slightly different plants near by. You may have inadvertently bred a better plant than ones you already have, or you may get unusual flower colours, it’s what makes gardening interesting, How to save seed:
- Collect seed only from the biggest, strongest plants that don’t have any sign of disease.
- Mid-morning on a dry day is the best time.
- Seed cases are usually ready when they’ve turned from green to brown.
- Note the name on a paper bag or envelope (no plastic), pop the seed head into the bag and snip off the stem. If you’re not sure of the name, just write a description and take a photo on your phone.
- Take them inside and spread each packet, one at a time, onto a piece of white paper & remove the bits of twig, casing etc and tip the seeds back into their bag.
- Store them in a cool dry place, though most seeds germinate best if they’re not kept for too long.
F1 hybrids These are seeds that have been deliberately crossed with two different parents, to make a hybrid plant that has the best characteristics of each parent. Sounds good doesn’t it, but there are drawbacks:
- The process makes them more expensive to produce than ordinary seeds
- Seeds that are saved from F1 hybrids doesn’t produce plants that are the same as their parents.
so don’t bother saving seeds from plants grown from F1 hybrids. Seed swaps: Keep an eye open for these events, they happen all over the place in the autumn. Use your local garden centre and seed supplier too, that way you’ll have a a fabulous range of plants. You can sign up on the home page so you don’t miss any future posts. Happy gardening Jill image: Jill Anderson