Seed Saving 101 - Flower Edition





Okay you guys! It's the end of July, and here is your seed saving blog, as promised!


This summer I have learned SO much about gardening. This year I took on a few extra learning projects, including flowers! Last summer we mostly just grew veggies, so I was really excited to get my flowers going this year, especially after we had SUCH a successful seed swap! If you didn't get a chance to participate, read about it HERE and join in next year! It's an awesome way to get a ton of seeds to grow and experiment with. It's the greatest thing!



So back to seeds. I have never been one to save seeds, or even really think about it as an option. Last year I saved a few seeds from our pumpkins, spaghetti and butternut squashes, but just as an experiment and not really expecting them to actually produce. Lo and behold, they have produced the MOST beautiful squash plants this year and I am SO excited to see the beauties that we get from these pretty plants that have been thriving the last few months up here in the mountains.


This year I ordered some flower seeds from Floret, which has the most beautiful flowers/website/everything ever, and decided to give flowers a go. I've always been interested in flowers, but never really known a ton about them. So far this year I have grown celosia, zinnias, cosmos, dahlias (seed and bulb), sunflowers, ranunculus, and a lot more. I have been able to pull seeds from a few of these and some others that we have in our greenhouse, and I can't wait to tell you how to save seeds for yourself.


Let's start with Cosmos.

These have become some of my favorite flowers. They are dainty and have such a fun structure, their leaves are kind of webby looking and that's something that makes them a little different. The flower itself is dainty and feminine and looks beautiful in a small bouquet like the one in the cover shot I did for this blog. I mixed my cupcake white cosmos with lavender stems and blooms, and WOW. So beautiful.


Cosmos have this beautiful center that is yellow and flat on their first day of bloom. If you see the picture on the right (above), that is one of the first, if not THE first day of bloom for that flower. As days go by, the center part (I guess you would call that the stigma/ disk flower) grows and becomes uneven. Eventually the disc flower gets pushed out and its seeds begin to form. You can see the green "seeds" below.


As these seeds get bigger, they eventually turn brown like the seeds in my hand above (pictured at beginning). Once they are brown and hard you pull them from the flower and there are your seeds! Beautiful, viable, and ready for planting more pretty cosmos. OR my favorite, sharing your very own saved seeds with friends and family.


Next up: Celosia


I grew these beautiful balls of joy in our bedroom window and let me tell you, they thrived! I planted them in a short 8" glass vase and kept them watered and in this sunny spot all day long. They grew and are really fun and exciting looking.


To save seeds from flowers like celosia, you have to let them grow for a while. once they get towards the end of their life cycle they start to produce little bulb type entities in each little segment, and that is where the seeds are! The bulbs usually open, but you can also sort of push them and they will pop open and your seeds will fall out! Usually 3-5 or so seeds in each little bulb/pod. The seeds are tiny and black, and you will likely mistake them for small bugs at first! If you grow chives, saving seeds from this type of plant is really similar to the process of seed saving from celosia!



Squash:

If you are someone like me who is growing all different kinds of squashes this year, then save the seeds from the good ones! I learned how to save squash seeds last year, and it is a little bit more of a lengthy process than saving seeds from flowers, mainly because you have to clean the seeds and dry them out. Most types of squashes are all the same and have all of the seeds in the middle of the actual veggie. When you scrape all of the guts out, save them on a plate. While your squash is in the oven, put all of these guts into a colander and sift out as much as possible. Everything other than the seeds, obviously. Sometimes it takes some extra scrubbing. Once you've gotten all of the guts off of the seeds let the seeds dry on a paper towel. Make sure none of the seeds are touching. Keep them in a dark place inside as they dry out for a few days. Once they dry, you can often pick off the extra yuck that you aren't able to get off in the colander. Once you're totally sure that your seeds are dry, you can save them in baggies and they will be ready for your next planting session! I'll share pics from my squash and other veggie seed saving later in the summer when mine are ready for picking!


I'd love to hear your thoughts, or what kinds of seeds you may be saving this year. Comment below and let me know!


Keeping up with the progress of people's gardens is so much fun to me. It's amazing to watch things grow. Especially when you put so much time and effort into them.


Happy gardening!


-xoxo

Emily