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Garden knowhow
Gone to seed!
A great way of cutting back gardening costs is to harvest your own seeds.

02.11.2013 - To harvest seeds correctly timing is vital: seeds must have ripened completely, but must be collected before they begin to disperse.  You will need to keep watch on a daily basis and begin to collect them as soon as they begin to dry.  All you need to do is carefully snip off the heads over a large paper bag, allowing the seeds to fall directly into the receptacle.  Paper bags are perfect as they keep moisture down.

Don’t compact the seed heads or overfill the bag as effective air circulation is needed to reduce the possibility of mould growth.

If parts of a plant are diseased or have insect infestations you will need to discard these immediately. If the plants are very dusty you will also need to thoroughly wash the plant a day the day before to ensure that it is totally dry for harvesting.  

If for some reason you are unable to monitor the maturation process so closely, another alternative is to enclose each seed head on the plant in a small paper or mesh bag as soon as flowering is over and the green seeds begin to show.  As the heads begin to dry, any seeds that fall will be niftily caught in the bag. Then when you have time and have noticed that seeds are being released, you can simply snip off the heads, with the bag still wrapped round them.

Dry seeds in a dark, cool and, most importantly, dry area.  Once completely dry then can be transferred to containers, to be checked regularly for signs of mould.

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