On Collecting Seeds
It's late July and I've started the ritual of seed collecting. This is something I learned from my mother a very long time ago. She was an avid gardener. She grew up on a farm and could grow vegetables with equal success as flowers...while I may have a long way to go as a food grower I do seem to have her knack for flowers.
The flowers I remember most strongly are poppies (Somniferum/Bread Seed; which is the poppy with the huge pods) and pansies (Viola species) and like most everyone else, I knew about sunflower seeds.
Fun flower to learn with- Somniferum poppy...showy flowers, large pods, noisy, lots of seeds.
Sunflower is great to learn with- seeds are easy to come by, grows big and fast, spectacular flower, birdfood.
I think most children learn about propagation of species from being told about how dandelions send their seeds off with little fringed parachutes –and of course by plucking them and helping the process along!- but I think it fortunate when they can learn from first hand experience with proper plants.
When my mother first showed me how to shake out the seeds rattling around in the dried up poppy pod I was delighted to see the hidden surprise and annoyed to find insects would sometimes fall out as well. I took her word for it that new poppies would come from these seeds if they were left on the ground. I never thought of it as particularly amazing and rather took it all for granted as that seemed to be how things in the world worked...I did think it was fortunate that my mother was such a good gardener and didn't have to buy poppy seed from the store to make Mohnkuchen (German poppy seed cake).
Later on she showed me pansy pods split to reveal little collections of tiny round golden balls- a far less prolific supplier of new flowers and I learned that different plants had different habits in not only how much seed they could produce but how they dispersed it. It occurred to me around that time that those dandelion seeds that floated on the breeze were very land-greedy and created a lot of work in the way of weeding and that some plants could become virtually permanently resident if they had long roots. Salsify/Goats Beard is an example of a plant you don’t want to encourage.
Pansy seeds at the perfect moment to collect.
Wait too long and you loose seeds to nature.
Ultimately the undesirable plants are cost free and care free while the desirable ones are usually bought and tend to require more care to cultivate. HOWEVER, I do believe in getting something for nothing or next to nothing so I collect seed. I talk to neighbors who are fellow gardeners or at least understand the economy of it all and get seed from them and when the time comes for me to harvest my own will return the favor with seeds (future plants) that they (currently) don’t have.
I've been collecting Columbine seed all month and have LOADS of it.
Spanish Bluebell as seen from nearly above- haven't been able to grow it here- YET.
This is what nasturtium seeds look like.
Sweet William seeds collected today from a neighbor.
Sweet Pea still green- the 'ripe' seeds for picking are nearly perfectly round and almost black.
So, if anyone is interested in trading seed let me know- I will have loads of columbine, poppy, sweet pea, calendula, and sunflower!