Do you want to enjoy the annual flowers that have been beautifully in bloom this season again next year? Consider harvesting and saving your seeds.
Harvesting dry seeds
The best time to collect seeds is on a dry and sunny day. You can tell when the seeds are ready to be harvested as the colour changes from green to brown. Make sure you harvest them prior to the seed heads opening. Gently crush the pods to release the seeds into an airtight container. Store ready to sow.
This type of seed is still embedded in the fruit. Pick the ripe fruit as soon as possible. To collect the seeds from fleshy fruit, gently mash the fruit in a sieve and remove as much pulp as you can. Place the remaining seeds/pulp into a bowl and cover with milk. Milk has enzymes that help remove the flesh from the seeds. Let this stand for a few days (ferment) and then gently rinse the seeds with water. Let them air dry now. After a few days place the seeds in an envelope or airtight jar. Store ready to sow.
Harvesting Poppy Seeds
Poppy seeds are ready to harvest when the pods and stalk turn brown. Cut the stems and place in a dish to dry out. Once the pods are dry turn the pods upside down and gently tap it a few times. Store in an envelope until you are ready to sow.
Seeds are best stored in a labelled paper envelope in an airtight container. Ensure you store them in a cool dark spot to ensure the seed do not deteriorate or die from rotting or disease. Most seeds can be stored until a more suitable time for sowing. However some seeds are best sown immediately such as hellebore as prolonged store causes the seed to be less viable. Certain seeds should not be allowed to dry out as they lose the ability to take up water. These include Magnolias, walnuts and oak. You can store these seeds in a plastic bag with a mix of sand and coir.