September 14, 2008

Harvesting Flower Seeds

I have been so impressed with the Zinnias I planted at the farm this year that I have been harvesting seeds to plant more Zinnias next year.  I planted about 20 packets of seeds this year and want to triple that next year.  The most cost effective way to accomplish this is to gather seeds from the flowers this year.

The flower heads need to be selected by color and size.  Since the flowers turn brown, you will need to flag the colors of the best blossoms that you want to collect.  You can do this by tying a red string to the stem, or you can tie a cheese cloth bag over the blossom or old panty hose if you want to recycle.  Tie the bag around the blossom when it begins to turn brown to collect the seeds.  Different color strings for different blossom colors work great.
I harvested a few blossoms that were really not ready to be collected for seeds due to the lovely colors.  I couldn't resist gathering some of them for photography use.
Remove the dried petals that are still attached to the blossom head.  Remove the seeds and place in paper bags to dry completely in a moderately cool dark place.  Once the seeds are completely dried you can put them in recycled jars, plastic containers, etc.

I like to put my seeds in small vintage fruit jars with zinc lids.  I will sometimes leave the blossoms intact in the jars.  Arranged on a shelf together they are naturally beautiful.
Walk around your garden and select blossoms for seeds gathering.  Trade seeds with your neighbors and friends.  A nice gift along with a present for your gardening friends is placing seeds in a vellum envelope labeled with the type of flower seeds and attach the envelope to the gift bag or present.  I love to get seeds along with gifts.  As I am always dreaming of the flowers I will plant next year.

Zinnias are on the top of my list at the farm as they have been drought tolerant, tough enough to battle aggressive weeds and hot temperatures.

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