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Saving Seed

Source: What Shall We Do Now?: Five Hundred Games And Pastimes

The best seed is saved from plants set apart for that purpose; for
good seed comes from the first and finest flowers and not from those
left over at the end of the flowering season. These plants should be
sown in a little patch by themselves, should be allowed to run to
seed, and carefully tended until the seed-pods are ripe enough to be
gathered. If, therefore, you have not a large garden, it is best to
buy most of your seed each year, using a little of your own, from
which, however, you must not always expect the finest flowers. If you
have no wish to keep any of your flowers merely for seeding purposes
but still want, while getting flowers from them, also to save a few
seeds, the thing to do is to mark one or two of the finest blossoms
with a tiny piece of wool or silk (it is better when it is the color
of the flower) and let it go to seed. Take special care of the plant,
and cut off all other flowers as you wish to gather them. Watch the
seed-pods when they are formed, and when they are ripe--that is, brown
and dry--cut them off, break them open, and spread the seeds out. Look
them over very carefully to see that there are no maggots amongst
them, and if they are at all damp leave them in a warm place until
they are dry. Then make them up in little packets, clearly labeled
with their names, colors, and the date, and put them away in a dry
place until next spring. In saving sunflower seeds choose your best
sunflower, and when the petals have fallen tie it up in muslin, or
else the birds will steal a march on you. In gathering sweet-pea pods
one has to be rather clever, because when they are quite ripe they
burst open and the seeds fly out suddenly, sometimes just as one is
going to cut them. In one poppy pod there are hundreds of seeds,
enough to stock a garden, and the same is the case with the pretty
pods of love-in-a-mist. Nasturtium seeds should be picked up when they
fall on the ground, and spread out until quite brown and dry.
Cornflowers, which have little seeds like shaving-brushes, generally
sow themselves, and marigolds do too, but they are both easy to save.
In choosing a place in which to keep seeds through the winter remember
that damp is not the only danger. Mice enjoy them thoroughly.

Next: Perennials

Previous: Biennials

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