Tino shares some simple tips for collecting and storing seeds from you garden.
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Learning to save the seeds of your favourite plants is one of the easiest ways to save money in the garden but, saving seeds can be about more than just saving your pennies. It gives you chance so see a plant through its whole lifecycle, and if you keep it up, you can end up with plants that are more adapted to the unique conditions of your garden than what you might pick up at your favourite nursery.
There are three ‘types’ of seeds that Tino shows you how to save:
– plants with seeds in pods e.g. beans and peas
– plants with small dry seeds e.g. carrots, parsley, basil
– plants with seeds in fleshy fruits e.g. tomato, tomatillo
Pick a nice sunny and dry day, grab your secateurs, a basket full of paper bags and a pencil, and you’re ready to collect!
The easiest plants to start saving seeds are legumes with pods like beans and peas. Why? The seeds are easy to spot; they store well, and they are easy to germinate.
Small dry seeds
If you wait until plants with smaller seeds like parsley, lettuce and basil to fully mature on the plant, then you risk losing the seeds to the wind.
Dry fruits are easy to collect, but plants that hold their seeds buried in fleshy fruit take an extra step.
Collect your ripe fruit from the tree or shrub. Cut the fruit in half and scoop the contents into a sieve over the sink. Wash the seeds well under water ensuring you remove all the flesh from the seed. Once they are clean, pop them on a paper towel or clean tea towel to dry. You can use this same method with tomatoes, capsicums and eggplants!
Once you have collected your seeds it’s crucial, they are stored properly. Seeds that aren’t left to fully dry out before storing or seeds that get wet while in storage, will rot and all your hard work will have gone to waste.
If you’re unsure if the seeds are fully dry before storing them – hang up a piece of string indoors in a dry spot near a window. Use pegs to attach the paper bags to the string.
After a few weeks come back to the small dry seeds you collected.
– Squish up your bag and pour the contents of the paper bag onto a piece of paper of carboard
– Fold your card in half so your seed is in the middle.
– Then tilt the card back to yourself. Shake the card and blow on it at the same time. The seed will stay on the card because it’s heavy and the chaff (i.e. the dried up old petals and other flower parts will blow away. Place your pure seed in a labelled jar, bag or envelope.
You can store them in a nice dry spot in their bags but if you want to keep your seeds extra safe from insects or moisture, you can store them in a sealable jar with something to soak up any residual moisture
Seed saving is a little bit of an art and a little bit of a science but with a few easy tips and tricks anyone can give it a go. You may even surprise yourself with how much you will learn about some of your favourite plants by collecting and storing their seeds.
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