Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Collecting seeds to save money

I love browsing through seed catalogues. Much more interesting than clothes and shoes and I NEVER thought I would say that!

But obviously new seeds cost pennies, so whilst I do like to get a few new varieties in whenever I get a chance, for the basics I collect up and use my own seeds.

Fruity seeds I tend to dry overnight in the warming oven, and have had good success with leaving things like squashes as a whole fruit and only splitting it apart in the spring ready to harvest the seeds for replanting. Surprisingly enough tomatoes are very good for this. With the last few fruits on the plants in the greenhouse I tend to just leave them to fall on the ground and they reseed themselves beautifully with no effort required at all.

Flower head seeds like dill, carrots and parsnips are best left outside and monitored carefully, because the window of just the right dryness is a small one, but they dry on the plant, you just shake them out into a bowl then store in an airtight container or a twist of paper in a dry dark place.

Today I have been harvesting thyme, marjoram, mint, asters, echinacea, lavender, dill, fennel, parsley, carrot and parsnip seeds, mostly because the sun is out and the flower heads are just right. If you rattle them gently you can hear the seeds in the dry casings.

I am quite lucky in that in my recycling boxes in the homes of my clients I get these effervescent tablet tubes, which have the little widget in for keep moisture out of the tube. These are perfect for seeds, airtight, dry and just the right size for tiny seeds.

So can you guess what it is yet?

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