These are the “dry” seeds, in contrast to the “wet” seeds such as tomatoes, cucumbers and pumpkins, whose seeds are embedded in meat that needs to be fermented. For information on drying these seeds, see my blog article – http://www.gardeninginla.net/blog/saving-seeds-from-non-hybrid-vegetables
Dryness and crispness are required to determine when to harvest these “dry” seeds. That means REALLY dry! If plant stems are still a little green and shaky, they need to dry further. Let the foliage dry naturally – do not pull the plant out and set it aside to dry as this will prevent the seeds from fully ripening when dried.
This wait can take up to two or three full months after the fruit or flower looks best and the plant looks increasingly disheveled. The gardener must consider this area to be out of bounds for further watering or planting so that the plants can fully mature and dry completely until they are crispy.
My bed, where I grew cereals last winter in the cool season – lettuce, spinach, bok choy, chard, kale, celery – is now ready to harvest its seeds.
Here are some consumables that will help you.
Large paper bags (no plastic bags)
The salad bags are tied over salad stems when the first flowers dried out months ago. They “breathe” and let moisture escape. Plastic bags do not allow this, so the moisture is retained and the seeds cannot dry thoroughly. The paper bags keep the seeds trapped even when they dry, so that not all seeds are scattered. If the seeds had dispersed later in the season, if they had watered or rained, at least some of the seeds would germinate. However, collecting in paper bags allows sowing in other closed places. However, if any of these self-sown seeds germinate, consider this as your cue to sow the sown seeds as the environmental conditions appear to be perfect!
A bowl or other wide container is helpful if it is held under the shabby branch or the tipped seed coat while being torn from the stem. Swiss chard has really long shoots with lots of seeds, and poppy seeds with bread seeds have small holes just below their caps, so the seed shakes out with the slightest movement.
Newspapers or paper towels on a baking sheet or other flat edge
Once you have collected the seeds, spread them on paper in a wide pan in a dry place out of the sun for a few weeks to ensure better evaporation and to complete the drying process. With seeds such as lettuce, parsley and coriander, which may contain a lot of dried leaves in addition to the seeds, they do not have to be separated, since the additional chaff when sowing later only helps to provide the associated mulch, which supports germination.
Store the collected seeds in envelopes made of paper, not plastic, to allow “breathing” and to prevent any spoilage of residual moisture. No matter how dry you think you received the seeds, never use plastic for storage, as a little bit of moisture left over can spoil the entire batch of seeds.
Store seeds in a place where temperature and humidity change the least, e.g. B. in an inner cupboard in the house. They want the seeds to go into some kind of suspended animation, not being stimulated by environmental changes.
Now you have an abundance of seeds that you can sow back in your garden and share with other gardeners!
And just think – after seven years of resetting and storing seeds, you’ll get used to your locale!
Why do this now instead of waiting longer?
Once you’ve put all the dead leaves on the compost heap, you can incorporate nutrient additives like compost, manure and coffee grounds into the beds and water them so that the soil microorganisms can prepare the soil for new sowing and planting.
This heating and cooling process takes two to three weeks. If you sow seeds or transplant seedlings too early, the soil is too warm and the new seeds and seedlings literally burn with the heat of the soil.
Buy your new seedlings while waiting for the microorganisms to work their magic so they can get used to their new location in these two weeks. Place the seedling containers in a container holding an inch of water to keep the bottom of the containers evenly moist, and gradually move it more and more into the all-day sun.
At the end of the two weeks, when the soil has cooled and is barely warm when you put your hand in it, the tub plants will also be acclimatized so you can plant them.