This is the first year I’ve collected seeds (other than pumpkins) from my garden. In the past I purchased seed packets at local garden centers or online without giving it much thought. Since writing about my garden every day, I have a heightened awareness that plants and flowers are more than just a sum of their parts. Hanging out in the garden with a camera in tow, helps me notice the minutiae. It’s been fun!
I love the way the hard, dark seeds of the 4 O’clock flower appear at the tip of the spent bloom. They’re ready to tumble into the soil below to ensure their survival. They provide easy access for the birds as well, who can grab a seed on a fly by. Cosmo seeds are moon-shaped and brittle, sticking out like stars at the end of the cycle. With pumpkins, of course, the seeds hide within. If we didn’t carve them, they would eventually rot in the soil, self-seeding for the following year.
I’ve allowed plants and flowers to go to seed longer than in the past, subverting my natural urge to tidy things up. Gardens are a messy business. I’m getting better at going with the flow.
Taking a few seeds and leaving the rest for the birds feels like the right thing to do. When the cycle is truly complete, I can compost the remains.
Earlier this year I bought a system for storing seeds from The SeedKeeper. It’s a shoebox-sized bin with alphabetical dividers and other goodies, including glassine envelopes for labeling and storing your own seeds. It’s such a simple thing, but somehow having it at the ready in my bottom kitchen drawer, makes it easy to store and retrieve seeds. I pulled it out today and started storing and labeling the remaining pumpkin seeds. Since I’m letting go of the seed organization on the plant, I can indulge my organizational side once I bring them indoors.
Are you a seed saver? Do you trade with fellow gardeners in your community?
The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies. -Gertrude Jekyll