The seed gathering season!

julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)September 15, 2006

ItÂs that time of year again to start collecting- drying- cleaning and packing up ripe seeds to swap at the "GREAT" MN Forum Winter Blues Seed Swap! Once again we will be meeting in January in the metro area to relive our gardenÂs spender and share the wealth of the fruits of our labor with one another.

Dottie has volunteered to host this years swap at her house- and I will be recruiting MN Forum out of towners who wish to participate by mail- and volunteers to "adopt" them. Look to the exchange forum for more details as the winter season approaches. Ugh- winter approaching- who wants to think of that now with sun- seventies- and seeds galore! For now- it is (more than) enough for me to go gathering- drying- cleaning and packaging!

For those of you new to collecting seeds- I have found ÂThe Seed Site" a great place to learn about what the seeds and pods look like. I know I threw away the rudbeckia seeds as chaff the first time I collected them- Thank goodness there were more ripening for me to gather and share! Other great sources for seed gathering include GWÂs Winter Sowing Forum and the Seed Saving Forum FAQÂs (frequently asked questions) area. Just click on the blue FAQ to be taken to the great information stored there.

I found I like to use paper lunch bags to collect seed pods in- and put them into larger grocery bags- and stash those in closets- or in cool, dark, dry areas- out of the way of the cat, dog and general traffic (read husband) to dry. Then, when I find a moment or two I get the mesh sieves and paper plates out to clean the chaff from the seed. I store the cleaned seeds in bulk in coin envelopes- and then divide them into folded paper envelope trading portions.

A word of caution- LABEL EVERY STEP OF THE WAY! Every year I grab ripe seed heads and am sure I will remember what it was when it comes time to clean! Um- every year I have "mystery" seeds.....

One more word of caution- plastic bags work great- for DRY seeds only. If there is any moisture in the seeds- putting them in plastic is asking for molds to form and destroy the seed viability.

Or- if that sounds like way too much work for you- you can always portion out commercial packets of seeds to share!

I look forward to sharing many seeds with you!

Happy gathering -

Julie

Here is a link that might be useful: The Seed Site- seed and pods section

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leaveswave(.)

Excellent seed collecting and storing guide here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wildonesnativeplants/files/

Labeling your seeds is a good idea. I don't but for some reason I remember the dozens of different seeds I collect. Even the similar ones somehow keep distint in my memory, though it's about the only thing that does!

I also use the paper bags to gather and then winnow out most of the chaff later. Some seeds you can easily do it up front. I'll try to get some to someone who's going but I'm afraid Dottie lives too far for me to make the drive. Sounds like a great idea--a seed party!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2006 at 3:03PM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

The Great MN Winter Blues Seed Swap - always great fun !

    Bookmark   September 16, 2006 at 11:59PM
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selkie_b(z4 MN)

I lay my seeds out very loosly wrapped in waxed paper to allow them to finish drying without blowing off as someone walks past. This also means I can write straight on it and know what I was thinking when I picked those seed heads.

-Marie

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 10:59AM
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