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Seeds have to be dried out before you store them.I use a window screen lined with newspaper.The screen is suspended with one gallon paint cans.I set this up in the basement in front of the dehumidifier.Stir the pods every few days.Generally in about two weeks the seeds are totally dried out.Then I put the pods in labeled zip lock bags.Sometime in the dead of winter,I separate the seeds from the pods.This method has worked for me for years.
Terese, I had some bad, bad luck using deli containers this year, but I think I've solved it by using a newspaper liner. My deli containters were about 4" tall, and I think that was just too tall.. If you're using the short, flat ones, they shoud be okay, but I highly recommend a paper liner. I mostly use a shoebox with cone coffee filters filed in it. I write the name of the seed on the filter and hope to use the same ones again next year.
I wanted to talk about marigolds...I noticed something weird lately (lately meaning the last couple of years) with the new varieites I am buying. The petals of the flower weld together and prevent the seed pod from opening and make the seed rot inside. To combat this, I have been taking a pair of scissors to them to cut the tip off and it seems to be working. I have figured out I am safe to cut all the way back to the green pod. Now, I have noticed a lot of commercial marigold seed is "detailed" -- as in they take the straw colored tail off. I am wondering if the commercial people are having trouble with their seed pods not opening up, too.
On the Zinnias, show her how to pull a petal off (as in "He loves me, he loves me not" fashion.) If the seed on the end of the petal is dry and dark, the seed is ready. If you get a petal with no seed, it isn't even close to being ready. You can also pull the flower straight out from the stem and if it releases from the plant easily, with a little pop, it's ripe, but I like to pull a petal better because I have loose soil and sometimes can pull the plant out of the ground. If you get closer to frost and the flower isn't ripe, I believe you can still harvest it, keep it in a vase of water and let them continue ripening. They have to be at a certain point before this will work -- the seed has to be thick and heavy, but it can still be "blonde".
Suzy -- thanks for the tip on the coffee filters. I have boxes of the cone ones [bought them at Sams in bulk] then we got a new pot that has the more of a basket filter.
I'll go out and check her zinnias... some of the flowers are dying back, but many are still full of color.
I have various marigolds, and can't recall the petals getting stuck. All the plants i have, have come from seed given to me by my neighbor... and she gets them from various places...
OH question on marigolds... she [my neighbor] was telling me one day that her mother asked her where she got such gorgeous marigolds... where she told her mom, that she got the seeds from her [her mother] even though her mom had never seen those colors before.
my question -- the seeds from a particular plant does not always produce the exact same flowers the next year, correct? I mentioned to Senia [my neighbor] that most likely due to being pollinated by bees, et al ... that there would be cross-pollinizing going on, so they'd probably never be the same.
Right you are. And marigolds cross pollinate very easily, unlike some flowers. I am only growing red marigolds this year. Three different kinds. I figure if they cross, then at least the progeny will be red. :)
i've got a few that are a 'sort of' burgandy-ish red and yellow mix. those are really pretty... and of course Senia is snatching up the dried buds hoping to get the same next year. but between the tow of us, we have a lot of varieties of them. some very small, and some quite tall and bushy. guess ya just never know what youre gonna get. [sorta like a box of chocolates]
I think it is best to collect them after they are dry. To be safe I like to keep them in little envelopes of waxed paper that I make. The waxed paper breaths enough to keep them from molding. I keep a few in my car along with a marker to label them. That way if I find seeds I want when I am out and about I have the envelopes there with me.
I've grown Aurora Red and it's brownish red. Not even burgundy, just brownish. It looked good with Coreopsis tinctora (the one with the burgundy eye) and also some of the Rudbeckia hirtas with the brown centers, but unfortunately, I didn't plant them together and just had to imagine how I *would have* done it if I had known they weren't going to be red-burgundy-red.
I have seen Disco Red seed available on its own...probably in the Stokes catalog or something but I found this http://www.2bseeds.com/marigoldindex.shtml too. Free Shipping on $30 orders--maybe a few could pool their orders and share amongst yourselves. I did that with a couple of people last year and it worked well.
Re seed drying: I like to collect when pods are brown, but if I have seeds that need some drying time, I keep them in junk mail return envelopes until ready. I seal the envelopes, cut off the very top and store them vertically in my bookcase. -For tiny seeds, it's sometimes necessary to put a bit of tape on the bottom corners so nothing leaks. This doesn't take up much space and works well.