welcome to my little suburban oasis, filled with flowers,fruit trees and vegetables

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Saving seed

The cost of seed, like so many things, gets more expensive each year, so I've been round the garden and allotment collecting seed for next year's plants, before we have any frosts. Some 'easy-growers' I just leave to self set or I pick the seedhead and scatter ripe seed where I'd like it to grow; forget-me-nots, love-in-a-mist, aquilegias, foxgloves and kaffir lilies all grow happily without any further fuss. Others have to be dried and kept over winter before sowing.

This mix of cannellini, borlotto and black beans were gathered a month or so ago and have been drying on the window sill. These beans didn't crop well this year, so I've put none aside for dried (edible) beans, just keeping these few for seed. We also have lots of runner and broad bean seed.

Peas have done a little better - but I didn't really leave enough for seed, so will end up buying again.

I'm still in the process of collecting pumpkin and squash seeds, as I get round to using this year's crop, but I already feel I have enough. The small black seeds are sweet peas - not many of them but I think some pods had already split and dropped seed. Maybe in Spring I'll find sweet peas growing in unexpected places.

Marigolds are still flowering - even in November! - but I stopped removing dead heads in September to allow plenty of time for the seed to set.

These fennel seeds may end up in dinner, although I'll save some just in case the parent plants die over winter.

I hadn't expected to find any ripe, usable seed on these sunflower seedheads - but when I pulled them apart I was pleasantly surprised. There's plenty for growing next year's plants, and leftovers for the bird-feeders.

The experiment with home grown brussel sprout seed seems to have paid off - there are plenty of healthy plants at the allotment, some already showing sprouts for Christmas dinner.

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