How to save flower seeds for an annual wildflower meadow

 

In this post I'm going to explain how to save three types of annual seed.

Things you're going to need:

Paper bags- those cheap white sweetie bags are great, but any paper bag will do.  The reason you want paper is because you want the air to flow, so no plastic otherwise everything's going to go mouldy.

A pen, to write on the paper bag what type of seed you are saving.

Small envelopes to store your seed in after it's all dried and you've separated it from the chaff.

Cosmos seeds

Write the name of the flower and the variety or colour on the bag first.  This prevents confusion when you have lots of bags or seeds that look the same.

How do you tell when the seeds are ready to be collected?  You are looking for seed heads that are brown and dry and come away from the plant easily. Put your whole hand over the dried flower head and pull the top off.  You will see all the lovely seeds in your hand, put them straight into your bag. Pick a few of the dried flower heads and add them to your bag.  Once you've finished collecting, you will need a flat surface of some sort.  You can use newspaper to sort the seeds on but make sure you can see the seeds!  Separate the little black hard seeds and the white chaff.

This is quite a nice, mindful activity actually. Just picking them apart. Grab a cup of tea. Sit outside maybe, if it's a nice evening, and separate them. Then, once you're done, you literally pick up the seeds and pop them into your envelope. It is that simple.

Poppy seeds

Poppy seeds are really, really tiny. So I'm not going to bother separating the seeds from the dust from the insides of your poppies. Simply cut the poppy head with some stem attached off the plant, let it dry out until you can hear it rattling when you shake it. 

There is a tiny little gap just underneath the top lip of the poppy seed head where the seeds come out. If that gap isn't there, you can break through the hard shell of the poppy to get to the seed. But I like to use these in dried arrangements and I'm using them in my dried wreath course in a couple of weeks. So I want to keep them as in tact as possible, but I still want the seeds. Turn the poppy seed head upside down into a small envelope. Just give it a little shake and all the seeds, you'll be able to hear them, will come out into the envelope. You will get loads of them just from one seed head.

So, once you've done that, save them for yourself, obviously. If you've got a few of these little packets you could save some up and give them as gifts to friends. Poppies are so easy to grow, you literally just throw them out and they will do their thing.

Cornflower seeds

The next seed I'm going to describe how to save are corn flowers. You are looking for the brown seed heads again.  You may need to identify which variety you have by looking further down the plant at the colour of the flowers.

Find the dry, brown flower heads and you're just pull them apart. The seeds look like little paintbrushes and there will be loads of them in each little bud.  Grab a few of those dried flower heads and put them in your bag again.  It depends on how many you think you're going to want to sow.   

Once you've finished collecting, empty them out on to your flat surface, making sure that you didn't leave any behind in the bag. You're going to pull apart the dried flower buds to let the little paintbrushes escape! until you've got all the little brushes out basically. Separate the seeds from the remnants of the flower buds.

And then package your seeds up.

So there you have it, three packets of lovely annual seeds.

Why should you save seed?

You want fresh seeds. The fresher the seeds, the better the germination rate basically. So if you sow old seed you will get less plants.

Collecting seeds is free! Woo hoo! Everyone likes to save a bit of money.

You can package the seeds separately as I've described above, or if you want to sow a wildflower meadow like me, then you can just mix them all together in one big bag and then in the spring you can sow them straight out on to your soil.

Competition time

If you want to be in with a chance of winning the three packs of seeds I collected during the creation of my YouTube video then please join my mailing list using the box at the bottom of the page.

Competition closes 22nd September 2019 at midnight.The sun rising over a small white cottage with a brightly coloured wildflower meadow in front of it