Did you absolutely love your hollyhocks this year? Seed saving is a great way to ensure that you will continue to enjoy your favorite plants next year as well. If you plan carefully, and make an effort to save your seeds, you can grow next year’s plants using this year’s seeds. If you want to start saving seeds, here is a step by step guide to saving seeds.
Harvesting Seed Pods
There are a couple of ways that you can use seed to propagate next year’s garden. If you want plants to grow in the same area next year as last year, you can simply allow seeds to mature and dry on the plant. When they are ready, they will fall to the ground and should grow again next year. However, while this method is the easiest, it doesn’t always produce the best results. For optimal results, gather the seeds by hand and store until it is time for next year’s planting.
If you want to gather your seeds yourself, the process is relatively simple. You just need to select the plants that you want to seed and then pay attention as fall arrives. Do not trim plants back; an important part of letting them go to seed is just allowing them to produce the seeds. This will take time. As plants prepare to drop their seeds, you will notice seed pods forming on your plants. Each seed plant has a different seed pod.
The seed pods will generally start out green and will slowly mature and dry out over time. When the seed pods are almost dry, you will want to start paying careful attention. You will know the seed pods are almost ready when they turn brown and feel dry to the touch. At this point, either surround the seed pod with a bag to catch the seeds as they fall or uproot the plant and store upside down in a paper bag. As the seeds become ready, they will drop into the bags that you have provided.
Seed Saving: How to Store Your Seeds
Once you have collected your seeds, you need to store them properly to ensure that they will be able to sprout next year. Before storing seeds, make sure that they are completely dry. Any moisture will lead to rot and mold and can quickly ruin all of the stored seeds in that container. If seeds aren’t completely dry, let them dry thoroughly before storing. Clean the seeds off and remove the seed pod and as much other debris as possible. Then place the seeds into a paper bag or paper envelope. Paper allows the seeds to breathe and remain dry over the winter. Be sure to label each bag so that you will know what you are planting next year.
Place your seed packets in a sealed container in a cool dark place until you are ready to use them. Seeds grow best the year after they are saved. If at all possible, be sure to plant them in the upcoming season. Saving seeds is a fun way to really take control of what your garden produces.____________________________________________________________
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