Late summer and early fall before the rains are great times to collect seeds, and if you are like me, plant them. There are a couple of theories on planting seeds. One is you collect them, put them in tiny envelopes and try to mimic outside conditions such as storing them in the refridgerator for a couple of months as they get their cold hours. While this may be necessary if you are planting seeds that need “Chilling hours” in a region that doesn’t get the cold. If a plant is growing just fine in your yard you probably don’t need to do this or follow the little zone planting diagrams like you see on the back of seed packets. Those are mainly for plants that are grown as annuals.
The other seed theory and the one I ascribe to is: if nature plants her seeds now, you can do the same. Germination may not be as high the first year but Mother Nature has this whole seed bank thing going on, which fascinates me to no end. The seed bank is a natural storage of seed within the soil, some dormant, some ready to sprout this year. It is a process that allows a species to live on, if one bad year hits or even a series of bad years, there are still seeds waiting in the soil for the right time.
I first became aware of this when I planted tons of wildflower seeds a friend got me for my new home in the woods. I expected a glorious spring. I got some blooms but 11 years later I am still being surprised by some of the varieties popping up where I planted them.
So, I plant my seed right after I collect it. Much of my planting involves flinging seeds about in different areas but for some seeds I do get down and plant them the proper depth.
Pictures of common flowers and their seed pods and seeds:
Violas are the smaller perennial version of Pansies, they produce little rounded conical pods that break open to reveal many little sticky seeds
Lunaria (aka Money Plant, Honesty or Silver Dollar Plant. These have purple flowers in the spring and develop branches of beautiul pods. The pictures show how to free the seeds from the pods by rubbing the outer two layers gentle leaving the shimmery silvery inner membrane and collecting your seeds.
Obedient Plant or Physostegia virginiana, or False Dragonhead can become invasive but I got the “Manners” pink and white varieties which will help. To collect seed you need to get it before the seed falls. Look inside the pods and harvest the seeds just as they turn dark.
Catmint plants spread seed easily. Inside each little seed cup is a black seed. by the time I got to them many were empty but i got a couple black seeds.
Digitalis or Foxglove plants produces hundreds if not thousands of seeds per plant. The tiny seeds are easy to throw about and some will come up right away and others will wait. The seedlings are easy to transplant if you have too many in one area.
Many bushes and trees have seeds you can colllect at this time also:
The Japanese Maple has samaras:
The American Cranberrybush (Viburnum trilobum):
Fall colors of the bush:
There are many others that sre easy to collect. I will leave you with this today and will come back with some more next time.
Once you’ve collected seeds you can share and trade with friends. Happy Hunting!