It’s that time of year again in NH when plants start to die down. But with the end can come a new beginning, that is if you save the seeds from your current plants to grow again next year! Saving your own seeds is a simple and cost effective way to propogate plants that grew well in your garden. You will often hear that you don’t need to save seeds because they are so inexpensive, but have you looked at some of the costs of seeds in the seed catalogs lately?!
Seed catalogs are a great place to find a source of new plants to try. But the favorite plants that you grown year after year are most likely giving you back free seeds to use again next year. Or you can aquire new varieties by harvesting seeds from plants in a friend’s garden or even at a local public garden. I love taking a stroll through Strawbery Banke this time of year — they encourage folks to take seed heads from flowers! But be sure to bring some small coin envelopes or else your pockets will be filled with crumbling seeds for a wildflower garden!
One very important thing to remember is that you should not save seeds from “hybrid” (sometimes called F1) varieties because the plants from these seeds will not necessarily breed the same type of plant in the future. It is best to stick with non-hybrids and heirlooms when saving seeds. Different plants require different methods for saving seeds (for example, you don’t save tomato seeds the same way you save bean seeds) so a little research can help in that area before you get started, but I find many flower heads contain seeds that are easily harvested.
Make sure your seeds are thoroughly dry before storing them or they will rot. I store mine in small brown coin envelopes marked with the year they were harvested, the name of the plant and/or a description if I don’t know exactly what they are. Keep them in a cool, dry place till next year and you will reap the rewards of new plants without the expense of new seeds!