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 Page 20
Collecting seeds for next year’s Plants. 

Harvesting Seed is easy once flowering has finished.  

 Seeds packaged for Convenience.
       As well as being sold loose in packets, seeds are now available in two forms-pelleted seed and tape seed-that provide ease  and accuracy of sowing.
     Each pelleted seed is coated with a decomposable material, usually clay. This increases its size and makes it easier to handle. With precise spacing possible, there is no need for thinning. Many seeds are now pelleted, including small ones like alyssum and antirrhinums.
      Tape seed consists of a line of evenly spaced seeds held between two twelve millimetre wide strips of decomposable paper or plastic material. The tape is laid in a twelve millimetre deep furrow, anchored with small lumps of earth to maintain the accurate spacing, and covered with another twelve millimetres of soil.

                 Use a cone of newspaper: To gather seeds  from your garden,  roll  up two sheets  from a broadsheet  newspaper  to make a large cone with a wide  opening at the top. Fold and secure  it at the bottom to keep the seeds in place.  Shake the plant  over this cone, then fold over and seal the top and label with the name  of the plant.
Paper bag : Put a paper bag over flowers  that have finished blooming and secure  it by binding  round the stem of the plant with a piece of string, raffia or wire. Once  the stems  have dried out, cut just below the tie, turn the bag upside  down and shake the plant so that the seeds fall into it. Label the bag immediately.
  • Never store seeds  in a plastic bag - it will not let air through and the seeds  will rot.
An umbrella: To gather the maximum number  of seeds in record time,  shake seed-bearing  stems above  an up-turned open umbrella.
Drying  is essential : To reduce  the risk of mould, air-dry seeds thoroughly  on newspaper  before storing  them.
Safe, dry storage: Old tablet bottles are perfect for storing seeds. The drying agent in the cap will protect  them from damp. You could  also use old film canisters,  or put the seeds in envelopes  or paper bags  and peg them to a line in a dry, well-aired  space  such as a garage.
 
Storing garden seeds
  • Collect  the little bags  of absorbent silica gel that come with electrical or computer  equipment.  Drop them into the tightly sealed  boxes  in which you store  your seeds.
  • To keep off weevils and rodents, add a mothball to the storage  container.
Use a fine mesh sieve: For fine,  small seeds such as antirrhinum  and petunia,  put the ripe, dry flower heads into an old kitchen  sieve. Rub gently over the mesh,  and the seeds will fall through. Some  will be spoiled by this treatment,  but there are so many that you can afford to waste  a few.
Check the cupboard:  Don't  store seeds  in an MDF cupboard as MDF emits  formaldehyde,  which shortens  the life of seeds.
Protecting seedlings from birds and cats.
 Many birds eat seedlings. The best method of protecting young plants against them is to insert low stakes around the perimeter of the bed , tie black thread to one of them and loop it criss-cross over the bed.
     If cats or dogs are a nuisance, keep them away by sprinkling a proprietary animal repellant over the bed.


Seeds for collection.

Many  common  garden  plants  set plenty  of seed,  which  is ready for collection  when the pod or seed  head dries out. Always  collect seed from the best specimens  only.
Hardy  annuals: Plants:  in this group that produce an abundance of seeds include forget-me-not  (Myosotis),  honesty, love in-a-mist  (Nigella  damascene), marigold (Calendula)  and poached egg plant (Limnanthes douglasii.  Seeds from these plants  are easy to collect before they fall and can be sown where you want to grow  them,  or given to gardening  friends.
Annuals  or biennials: Wallflowers (Erysimum), pansies, poppies,  nasturtium  (Tropaeolum)  and nemesia  all set good quantities  of seed,  which can be sown  when required.
Perennials:  Seeds of primula and cyclamen  are best sown as soon as they  are ripe, when they will germinate quickly. lf stored  and dried,  germination takes a long time. Lupins ,  Welsh poppy  (Meconopsis  cambrica) and evening primrose  are when short lived  and are best started  from seed every few  years.
Sweet  peas: These  plants also readily  set seed,  but remember that the offspring will not be exactly  the same as the parent plant. This is particularly true when growing hybrid plants, which often have specific colours and forms only when the same parents are used. This plant variability is caused  by cross-pollination  by flying  insects, such  as bees. However, this has often  resulted  in the accidental  production of a new improved  variety, so there  is no harm in seeing  what comes  up.
 

 
 
Mini Index
 Skips pages. Gets you to a general area.
Garden Bulbs.
Lillies& Alliums.
Flowers until Frost.
Annuals For Summer.
Borders Full of Colour.
 Collecting Seeds.
Perennials.
Foliage Plants.
Pests.
 
Garden Gate and flower borders
 
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