I know it sounds silly, but I love going out to save seeds. It makes me feel like a good steward, I guess.
Today I picked all the seeds off my balsam plants along the front walk. (I bought a packet of balsam seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (they’re homeschoolers!) last spring, and they grew very well —wish I’d taken a picture of them in bloom to share here.)
Balsam plants are fun because once they bloom, little seed pods form along the side branches of the plants, and in the fall you can pop them open over a cup and all the seeds come tumbling out. (When my kids were little, they loved doing this 🙂 ) I’ll let these dry in the unheated garage over the winter, and next spring I won’t need to buy more balsam seeds.
Other plants whose seeds I’ve collected in the past include:
Cleome (the long stringy pods under the blooms are full of tiny seeds)
Marigolds (the old blooms are seeds; save them once they’ve dried up)
Hollyhocks (the seed pods contain comma-shaped seeds)
Four o’clocks (the seeds are hard and black and found inside the blooms-they’re ready in mid-to-late summer)
Store seeds in a dry place where air can get to them and where they’ll get good and cold over the winter.
You don’t have to collect seeds; if you just leave them, they’ll come up again in the same spot next year. But by collecting seeds, you can scatter them where you want in the spring, plus you’ll have more than enough to share with friends and neighbors. Or, if you’re like me and think you might be moving, you can take the seeds along to the next house.
In recent years, most people bought blooming plants instead of planting them from seed. Most of the people who do grow flowers from seed buy new seed packets every year. Saving seeds is something people used to do when money was scarce. I think it’s going to be making a comeback.