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Talkback: Collecting and saving seeds

I'm saving seed of my perennial sweet pea to grow plants for my friends. Having collected and cleaned seeds at the botanoc garden for the seed distribution (ten packets) that Friends of the BG are entitled to, I'm a bit of an expert. Some seeds need to be kept in the fridge over winter and all have to be kept dry. If you put the seedheads head first into paper bags or large envelopes they can safely stay there till you are ready to clean them of the detritus that could harbour disease if left on till you are ready to sow. Peas and beans are easy but even they are better for letting dry on the plant and collecting on a dry day.


  • Hi Mark

    Well done!
    Perhaps you could sell/swap your superfluous plants with like-minded friends or through a gardening club?
  • for many years i`ve saved and dried spent plant seeds, and sometimes they come again, sometimes they don`t, but i`ve often found that keeping them in brown bags in a very dry place seems to work well, so i`ll stick to this method, it seems to work and saves you a packet. all the best for next year
  • Will my sweetcorn ever ripen now? I they are big and firm but not sure how to tell when they are yellow and ready to pick. This is my first year planting them.
  • Just separate the leaves round one of the cobs,jamkea, and dig in with your nails into one of kernels. A white latex should ooze out if they are perfect to eat. They may not be yellow but white, depending on the variety. At this stage you can eat them without any cooking and they are so sweet and delicious. After a day or two it is better to have them hot with butter dripping from them!
  • With my second year on an allotment just beginning, I love the idea of seeing the life cycle go full circle like this.

    I have snaffled some sweet pea seeds from the allotment opposite, as the sweet peas there this year were to die for. Also I've let some broccoli go to seed - but how long to leave it
    before picking the pods. At the mo they are still green and the seeds inside white: too soon perhaps?
  • Is it ok to sow Perennial seeds indoors now to give them a head strt for spring ?
    Im very new to gardening and have taken to it with a passion,ive read the packets of seeds and most say to sow from march etc,i just thought by giving them a head start to root before planting out next year
  • Good idea, Peter. Why not sow half the packet now and half in spring? I love experimenting like that. The perennial seeds I get from the Botanic Garden give you the option to either sow in the autumn or spring.
  • I have collected seeds from pansies (had so many plants this year we had them everywhere),verbascum phoenician hybrids (will be interested to see what they turn out like) gazanias and nolana so far this year. I uses those little jam pots you get in hotels and the tiny shower gel containers and make sure the sseeds are really dry before storing, otherwise they go mouldy. I store them in the cupboard under the stairs which is unheated. I also pick up interesting seed pods and currently have three loquat plants growing on the windowsill and five "golden rain tree" in pots in the garden - also Judas Tree and something called Ptelia trifoliata. No idea what I shall do with these trees as they grow, but fascinated that they all came so easily from picked-up seed pods!
  • I love collecting seeds for the next years growing. I find you have to be a bit careful though that they don't revert to wild type. I've just planted my winter cabbages and have been treating the seedlings for club root.
  • We have a holly tree which is about five years old now, last year we purchased a second tree which we hoped would be a female, looking at the first tree today we found to our delight that it is flowering. I have never seen this before Can anybody tell me what happens to it now, can we expect some berry's. Brian
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