Small Seed Saving

As most gardeners do, I like to collect my own seeds by allowing certain plants to go to seed after blossoming. Bees love the flowers in my veggie beds, so I am assured of providing them with a food source as well. To harvest the seed heads and hang them upside down in my shed is the easy part. Extracting the seeds have always been the tricky part, requiring great dollops of patience and time. Until recently.

Seed heads drying out in the garden shed.

I’m not sure if I read an article about harvesting seeds the easy way, and the info was stored back in my brain somewhere and then just surfaced recently as a “eureka” moment, but small seed harvesting is a breeze with this technique. All you need in equipment is a flat tray with deep sides, and a rolling pin or bottle, and some envelopes to hold your seeds in.

Remove the tops which contain the seed pods.

Once the seed heads are dry (should be a crisp dry), remove the top portion containing the seed pods and place in your tray.

Rocket Label on electrical tape.

Top Tip: I try to remember to label the seed gathering stems, as I often forget and then have several bunches hanging up and have not the foggiest what they all are when it comes to deseeding them!

Seed Rolling in a deep sided plastic tray. An old kitty litter tray works wonders.

Roll a thick dowel rod or rolling pin over the seeds. Don’t be afraid to apply a bit of pressure, the seeds are quite hardy. This cracks open the seed pods to release the seeds effectively and quickly.

Seed pods crack open easily to release the seeds.

The whole process is quick, taking less than 5 minutes. Previously, I used to manually open each little seed pods and try to scrape out the seeds…an arduous task and one I used to always put off till I had so many seed bunches hanging upside down in my shed, I would dread the task!

Any labelling works, this one is made from recycling strips cut out of a Soy milk Tetra Pak.
Light seed husks left on the top of the seeds.

Now shake all the seeds and pods into one corner, take your tray outside and gently blow on the pile. The pod/ husks are light and will fly away. Keep shaking the mixture, encouraging the seed to fall to the bottom, and the husks to rise to the top before repeating the blowing action to seperate them.

Mizuna and Mibuna seed mix.

What you will be left with, is the seeds. Simple and easy. Now all you need to do is pour the seeds into an envelope and label and date them.

Seed Packages

I used to use recycled envelopes for my seeds but those are in short supply now since we don’t receive much in the mail anymore. Now I make my own seed envelopes, and recycle them when I use the seed up. They are super easy to make too, and I shall share those too in due time.

Third or Fourth Generation Mizuna handles the frost now!

So what are you waiting for? Be an Earth Warrior and start saving your own seeds!

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