When should I harvest Lavender stalks for the seed?

plant.babies(Zone 7-8)August 10, 2006

I don't want to harvest lavender seed to plant - I want to harvest it for making things out of.

I have 11 huge lavender plants, and I did not harvest the flowers this year as I was too ill to get out there.

Now it looks like my plants are all going to seed, but not sure at what point I can cut the stalks and strip the seed pods off now that I am feeling better. I don't want to waste the entire year's harvest.

Anyone?

thanks,

plant.babies

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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

If you want lavender for cooking, it's not the seeds you want, but the flowers. If you really want the seeds, you'll have to wait until the flowers are well and truly dead, then check to see if the seeds are ripe (brown or black and very tiny).

Harvesting: For drying, pick flowers just as they open, along with some of the foliage, and hang in bunches upside down in a dark, airy room. Do not use excessive or prolonged heat if drying them artificially, as the oil is very volatile. Pick the leaves at any time for fresh use, or before flowering if drying. Small, woody black or brown oval seeds are enclosed in the tightly closed calyx.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 7:54PM
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gw:plant_babies

the flowers are all gone, and the little pods are hardening.

I just don't know at what point it will be 'ready' as actual seed.

Many Lav. farms use the pods before they go to hard seed in scent bags -- you see large bowls of them at Farmer's Market. They are very light and can go up your nose if you sniff too hard!

What I want are the actual hard seeds that would grow if planted, although I don't want to plant them.

I suppose I could take a few stalks off, strip the pods and let them dry a bit each week until they get to where I want them.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 1:01PM
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granite(z6 NC)

Not every lavender plant produces seeds, and some produce seeds that are quite difficult to separate out of the pods.

If you are growing the Intermedia lavenders (Grosso, Provence, etc) they do NOT produce any seed whatsoever.

The English lavenders do produce seeds (Hidcote, Lady, Munstead, Jean Davis). You will be able to see the pods crack open on the top, that is when the seed is ripe and you may harvest. Lady is probably the easiest to gather seed from, but it is also a small plant so it doesn't sound like that is the variety you have.

You have me quite curious as to what sort of project you are planning that requires lavender seed as opposed to the lavender buds.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 9:13PM
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gw:plant_babies

LOL ... the plants I have to gather from are Hidcote, Munstead and Provence. They are huge because last year
I did not touch them at all due to illness. I also have Grosso to cut, but as you said, it won't be seed that I get.

I did not cut this year until now because of our 110-118 temps. Yesterday I went out and chopped the stalks from one of the Hidcote plants -- they look good. The seed seems ready - some of it is falling onto the sheet placed under the hanging stalks.

Basically the project is small bags of the seed to sell at Farmer's Mkt.

:)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2006 at 2:28PM
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