Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Gardening 101: How to Collect Calendula Seeds

This year, I had a volunteer bed of calendula flowers pop up after self-seeding last year in my courtyard. If you'd like:
  • a little more control (and don't want to bank on your plants properly self-seeding themselves)
  • want to move plants to a different area
  • want to sell or gift seeds to others
then you will need to know how to collect seeds from your plants!


Supplies

  • Calendula flowers that have gone to seed
  • Large glass jar for collection
  • Small glass jar for storage

Directions

Step 1: Wait
Make sure you wait until the right time to collect your seeds. When the petals fall off, you'll have a very green looking seed pod. Wait until it looks brown and very dry like this:
(the seed pod above is in "very dry" stage but is also damp from rain. Do not collect seeds if they are damp)

Step 2: Flick off seeds
Hold a large glass jar (I use an old applesauce jar) under the dry seed head and rub over the dry head with your thumb. The seeds should break off and fall into the jar.

Step 3: Shake
After collecting seeds from lots of plants, screw the lid on your jar and shake it vigorously. This will help dry non-seed plant matter to rise to the surface so you can pinch it off and discard it. 

What happens if you store seeds with dry plant matter: Nothing bad will happen if your seeds get stored with some dry plant matter than ended up in the jar - it's just not very neat or efficient to store large amounts of extra plant matter with your seeds.

Step 4: Store
Once you've removed most of the excess plant matter, transfer your seeds to a storage container. I use an old baby food jar. You could also use a paper envelope.


Step 5: Label
Be sure to label your jar with the kind of seeds are in it as well as the year you collected them

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