How to Harvest Your Own Seeds

How to Harvest Your Own Seeds

I've found harvesting seeds to be an interesting way to get to know the lifecycle of plants. And as an added bonus, you get more flowers that you can spread throughout your yard or share with friends and family with your harvested seeds. While I've gotten to know the process of harvesting seeds better, my general plan is to let nature do its job and try to stay out of the way as much as I can...and to swoop in when the time is right to save seeds to spread the love. 

Cleome seeds to beautiful cleome plants

When to Harvest Seeds

As flowers fade at the ends of their season, they're typically packed with seeds ready for the picking. I usually keep most of my seeds in place to help feed the birds, but it certainly doesn't hurt to pull a few seeds off to save for next year. Ideally you can collect your seeds after a few dry days so that you can harvest them when they're not damp. If you're overwhelmed by the idea of collecting seeds from your plants, you can always just deadhead a few plants and save the heads for the following spring. 

Choose your best performing plants to help give next year's plants the best chances of success. It's always good to dry seeds for at least a week before you put them into winter storage. 

Here's a slow motion video of me gently pressing an Impatiens seed pod so it bursts open to spread its seeds, which is how it works in nature when my grubby hands don't get in its way

How to Store Seeds

Store your seeds in a cold, dark, dry place. Basically, you just want to make sure that the conditions aren't right for your seeds to germinate before you're ready for them. You can choose small paper bags or other breathable materials to store and label your seeds. (Or make plantable seed paper with them!) 

I like to store my plantable seed paper and seed envelopes in my Seed Caboodle

When to Plant Your Seeds

You have two options regarding when to plant your seeds. Again, I like to think of the best ways to help nature rather than get in its way. So first, you can plant your seeds in the fall after the first hard frost. Flowers spread their seeds in the fall so that they wake up ready to go in the spring, and you can do the same. Or, if you're nervous about warm days ruining this plan (I type as it's above 60 degrees Farenheit on a December afternoon...) then you can wait until the spring. You can plant your seeds directly outside after the last frost of the year, which is typically around the middle of May. Of course this can change dependent upon each plant, but these are good general rules to follow. Or, if you want to get a jump on the season and have blooms earlier in the year, then give a milk jug greenhouse a try


Last step: Enjoy your pocket meadow grown from seed!

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