It is really hard for me to get basil seeds out of the dry hulls. Is there an easy way to do this?
mmh...this is what I do:wait until the seed pods are dry I cut them with a long stem atached,put a plastic bag in the pods area the stem should stick out this will be you handle,grab the bag thighly around and bang it on the kitchen counter,just make sure you bag does not have holes:)
I let 4 basil plants go to seed this year and then when most of the pods were dry I cut them all off and brought them inside and let them sit for a week. Later when it was time to separate the seeds I had so much that I did not feel like I had to get every last seed. I took the easy ones and discarded the rest. I rolled the seeds and chaffe around with my fingers and the palm of my other hand and lightly blew the chaffe away. What I saved still has some chaffe but not too terribly much.
I also have a BUNCH of volunteer seedlings starting up that I plan to transplant and keep indoors over winter.
You can take each hull and grab it by the end and prick the end apart and four seeds will come out, but that is tedious. ;) I grab a handful of the hulls and rolled them back and forth between my hands and let the seeds fall on the kitchen counter. I lightly blew away most of the chaff and picked out the little that was left. You don't get all the seeds, but you get a lot of them. Consider how many plants you really want next year. Do you need ALL the seeds? ;)
Tedious is right! Last year I separated each hull from the stem and tore it, releasing the seeds into a bowl. Very time consuming, but I collected enough seed to fill a shot glass. I doubt I'll need to collect from that variety for several years.
My suggestion for easy seed saving: try the shaking method. I use it for heuchera seed. Find a clear plastic container that has no holes. Remove each pod/hull from the stem and place in the container. Might try giving them a slight rub between the fingers to loosen the seeds. Close the container and shake very vigorously for several minutes. Check to see how many seeds are loose. Shake more if desired. This method doesn't collect all the seed, but it is easy. A similar version of this uses another container, with tiny holes (a little larger than the seeds) in its bottom, placed within the other container. The added container acts as a screen to separate the seeds from the chaff.
I suggested this experiment many years ago. Put the hulls with seed in a round jar with some sand and put he whole contraption in the trunk of the car and let it roll around for awhile.
Some years later an article appeared suggesting my my method. I never tried it so I don't know if it works or not. I doubt if the writer of the article ever tried it. I suspect she stole it from my entry on the GW experiments forum.
If you like to tinker why not try it?
As for me I just grab the stems and strip off the seeds and save them without all that added work. It works well for me. Down here we do not even need to bother with the seeds if we leave them on the old stems until planting time, but I usually at least pull the plants.