Time to collect seeds before mother nature beats me to it--

It’s mid-August and several varieties of seed are ready to be collected from the garden.  Here’s how I’ve learned to do it over the years–no special purchases required.

Dry stalks cure in a paper sack

My number one tool is a large paper  bag.  I cut dry plant stalks and dump them head first into the bag as fast as I can.  It’s important to use paper, not plastic, so any moisture can evaporate.  Plus, the  rattle of new seeds hitting the stiff paper makes me very happy–a good sound.

Now I get out my second favorite tool, a sharpie.  I label the paper sack and set it on a covered porch (where our dog can’t get to it). It cures there for a couple of weeks while stalks dry and a few more pods release their seed.

The next step is cleaning my seeds.  I give the bag a good shake, remove the stalks to the compost, and dump the contents of the bag onto sheets of newspaper.  That’s tool three–thanks N&O.    Use your fingers  to cull out the seeds, pushing them into the newspaper crease which is totally conveninet for funneling seeds into their storage containers, tool four, small jars.

Pimento jars are great for this since the wider the jar mouth, the better.  Pour in your seeds and label with your sharpie.  I just write the name on a piece of paper and drop it in the jar.

Seeds getting air in an old jam jar

Don’t cover yet.   Again, moisture is the enemy when saving seed.  Set the open jars aside and out of direct sun light for a couple of weeks.  Then you have seeds to that are ready sow, save and share.

Speaking of sharing–blog partner Melissa and I want to do a seed swap this fall, so start planning and saving your seeds now.

This woodland tobacco makes tons of seed to share--and delights all takers

(And–If you’re on the list for rain lily seeds, don’t worry.  I’m already collecting.  )