is aster ready to harvest?
First of all, thanks so much for all the fantastic info on this site. This is my first year of seed collecting and I have so much to learn.
I got on your FAQ section and got information on collecting from New England Asters. I have an Alma Potschke tall aster and I'm checking EVERY DAY for seeds! It's still at the end of its bloom time, but the reality of an early very hard frost up here has me anxious. In the FAQ section, the picture and text illustrate the white fluff that develops when the seed is ready. I have just gotten a couple of white fluff buds. But, the entire plant and the stem leading to the fluff is still healthy and green, no brown dieback at all. The seeds at the inner end of the fluff are still very light, just barely darker than the fluff.
Is the fluff a signal that the seed is ready, regardless of the stem being dried? Or, do I need to let the fluff keep developing until the stem has dried up a bit. Since the wind can whip the fluff away so easily I'd like to harvest it as soon as I can, so I don't want it to sit on the plant unless it needs to ripen more.