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Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Well its that time of year again.. time, or past time to harvest, clean, dry, save, pack and gift!

I have lots of seed yet from last year... I like using the tuperware containers I get from our coldcuts!
Thank you Oscar Meyer and others for packing the meat in them. They are so handy and re-usable!

So now it goes. Been dead heading.

So far its been peppers, watermelon, cantalop, marigolds, cleom, fouroclocks, dianthus and others!

So whats your method? How you packing them?

My peppers are dring well. I just let them dry in the "pod" then later crach the pods oepn and garther the seed or I will cut the pods and remove the seed and freeze the edible part!

Watermelons.. I will take the seed rince in the sink and collect them in the screen trap and then dump those on paper plates taking a paper towel and cover them. I do not remove the towel until the seeds are dry. I do this with cantalopes and punkins too. I leave the paper towels because if I do this in the house I often will get gnats and that is no fun.

Marigolds, cleomes, those I just dead head and put into the tuperwares like pictured and leaft the lids off until the seeds are REALLLLY DRY. I label the tupers what seed are in there and later I will place seed in envelopes if I am trading.

Well thats a few...

Denville, NJ(Zone 6b)

nice way to store them.... thanks

Büllingen, Belgium(Zone 6b)


Your marigolds are still green, do you get viable seeds this way? I always harvest them when the pods turned brown and are crispy.

Menifee, CA(Zone 9a)

i harvest my marigolds when they are brown also. i use glass jars for saving seeds. had some bad luck with plastic and moisture but then it does get really hot here.. your picture is very appealing with everything all neat like that. i beg jars from everyone and have assorted sizes.

Morrisville, PA(Zone 6b)

I prefer to use coffee filters for my initial storing and drying of seeds ..... I write the name of the seed on the filter before placing in the seeds ...... then I fold and staple the coffee filter shut .... place the pkg in an area receiving dehumification for a week or two .... then place packs in air tight container until I have time to work with them further.

I may use more than one filter to store identical seeds.

All seeds wll eventually be placed in zip lock baggets .... for tiny seeds such as petunias ... they will be inside a small folded piece of coffee filter that will be inserted into the baggett.

I also wait for marigold and other pods to turn brown before harvesting.


Thumbnail by merrymath
Menifee, CA(Zone 9a)

coffee filters are such a great idea!! ( i dont drink coffee, never occured to me filters had another use)

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Your right some of the marigolds are somewhat green, but when picked, those flowers were spent and part drying and the necks were broke and not at peak bloom.. I will get viable MG seed from those whether they dry on or off the plant. When I pluck them, the blossoms are usually spent and broken at the neck anyway and so they are not getting anything from the plant at that point and are just hanging on to the plant by a thread to dry. Granted some will not be good, but often they are ok. I suggest though, if they are still hanging on good to the plant to leave them, but if lose, no problem, take them and try to dry them anyway. You will get more seed that way and hopefully it will be viable. Mine usually has been..

I harvest them dried on the plant too..

I also will take any broken branches and let them dry out and take seed from those. You can hang those branches upsidedown or stand in a bucket without water... works either way. This season I have had a lot of brokenbranches off mine. They have been so heavy with flowers, the flowers broke the branches!

You really have nothing to lose if you dont try.

I will broad cast the seed to a garden bed or if I do start them in the GH, I broadcast them in a flat and then transplant shortly after... I take all I can at harvest if time allows me..

Hmmm coffee filters would be super for drying the melon seeds! I could line my tuperwares and let them set on the filter until dry! Thanks for that idea!

I like using the tuperwares as sometimes when deadheading I do have branches of the plants and I shell them later when planting so the seed here is often really raw. I dont waste my time cleaning it to perfection. The dried matter will disinigrate to the garden anyway. I do hull the seeds, but crush the cases of them when I plant.

Go here for more on Marys!

Menifee, CA(Zone 9a)

the marigold forum is very interesting. I wonder how people cannot like them. they are so easy to grow, happy colors, lots of seeds. I love them ! must confess i even like the smell.

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Probably just the smell.. otherwise the marys are a neat bloomer!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I live in a humid area, so I do everything I can to increase airflow to the wet - damp - humid seed heads and coffee filters. They still take weeks to dry.

I will sit a filter on top of a "pleated" piece of white paper. Folding the white paper alternately every 1/4" gives a zig-zag pattern that holds the coffee filter up off the table or tub.

Sometimes when i run low on saucers, and coffee fitlers seem too large, and the seeds aqre 95% dry but need another week or three, I will fold a piece of white paper into a "tray" with a bottom of 1.5x2". If they are of different sizes, they'll nest, and I can even stack them. So far, the cat has been very good about not playing "seed tray ping-pong".

Here, nothing is brown yet. I left some Zinnia and marigold blooms on for weeks - still fresh and pretty.

You know you're a seed-saver when you look at pretty, colorful blooms and scowl, wishing they would turn brown and dry and die!


Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

LOL! Die bloomer die! Only way to get more bloomers!

Then in spring yano you went nuts in the fall when you got a ton to plant!

Calgary, Canada

My dining table is full of brown bags and envelopes of seeds drying.
And the kitchen counter is full of empty milk jugs!
I am still planting bulbs and plants which I obtained at end of season sales.

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Yeah, boy, the kitchen, the living room, the bedroom, garage.. Gps all of them got something saving here!

dont I know that one too.. the brown bag method! Works great so you can mark right on the bags what they are too!

Doing the bulb thing yet too! Divided up some daffs we uncovered when we pulled a tree out making a mess of that garden....I plant about 3-5 bulbs in a one gallon nursery can and sink the can in the gardent so I know where to lift them later when they need dividing again.. keeps the critters out too!

Calgary, Canada

Good idea on the bulb planting.
I am burying mothballs with the tulip bulbs.
And going to try garlic in a few holes.
The squirrels are much too active here.

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

We have squirels too, but I would not use moth balls. the pots work just fine.

Tried growing garlic in my redneck tar and that dingt work... I think benig above ground, it was too dry for them.

Still working bulbs up.. ye-gads.. where am I gonna put them all?

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Still looking for that book i have on seed saving. dang, I cant remember the title to share.. so as soon as I find it I will post it.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Hot pepper powder and flakes scattered on the surface helped for several weeks, but it needs to be renewed after any heavy rain. I bought a half-pound of Thai red chili peppers and grind them in a coffee grinder ... carefully!

One bed stayed pristine for a few weeks, then after some rain, became chewed up again, like a minefield.

I'm not sure whether I'm deterring tree rats or cats - we have both. They must have some kind of treaty, because I thought cats would chase squirrels away.

The chciken wire keeps working after rian, though. I think that just means they aren't hungry enoguh yet to chew through it. Someone said to paint a waterproof pepper slurry right onto the wire.


Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

We got nasty stray feral cats around here breeding like rabbits, killing rabbits, birds and just peeing up the place, its insane. They dont do diddly for mice. People get a barn cat and gotta have a litter it seems then them babies stray and its just havoc. I wish they would pass a leash law for pussys. Im sorry, it might make someone upset that I say this, but when the cats are destroying habitat that is not good. Then the wild cats get brave and pee onthe house and things you have outside and just stink up the place. Like thats a nice thing to do to have to breathe urine. Stray dogs the same way and hey, I love animals but not what people let them do where they should not.

Wildlife is another thing. Usually they are not the nusiance the wild domestics are. Least as that has been my experience. Problems come whe you start feeding wildlife.. it attracks more than what you bargain for.

But we get cats, dogs, sqwarrels, rabbits, coyotes, fox, skunks and coons. Oh so much fun.

Menifee, CA(Zone 9a)

you are right about habitat destruction. i am a cat lover, but not to the point that i want ferals tearing everything up. I trap and spay/neuter every one that comes on my property, if they make it as far back as the house, cause i am not going to add to the population. The life expectancy of a feral around here probably is not even a year. the coyotes, hawks, large owls and snakes keep it down. i do feed them, as i have found that a fed cat seems to hunt a lot more than a hungry one for some reason. have not had a mouse or rat in the house yet. fingers crossed.! the cats also keep the squirrels away. now, if they would just get the darn gophers.

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

For gophers get MilkieSpore. You need to eliminate their food source then they will leave the territory and go elsewhere.

Cats like coy-dogs like to "play" with their food, so they kill for sport a lot. Becasue they are "domestic" they dont know what they are when crossed with a wilder one so thats where the problem and destruction comes in. If they were pure wild they would only kill when hungry. But its debateable on the cats because technicallly they are domestics gone stray.

With coy dogs, they are a cross between what is pure wild and pure domestic giving you the half and half or maybe more wild, but the domestic genes make them kill for sport. Farmers actually have more issues with the coy-dogs than a pure coyote or wolf. Coy-dogs waste their victims. You can alwasy tell the difference between a coyote kill and the other. Coyotes rarely leave a mess and eat it to the bone.

I have coyotes here and they dont generally mess with the livestock. Usually the ones messing are the stray dogs and crossbred wilds. People are so stupid when it comes to dogs and other pets. They think, oh, its nuetered it can run free.. Get real, that only reaks havoc when they start messing with the stock. Its got a mouth, it still can bite, chase and spread diseases. Truthfully I think some of the owners need to be nuetured. Then maybe they wil figure out what I am talking about.

Responsible owners dont need to neuter their pets or stock if they have adequate housing.

What irks me is animal horders who just cant seem to quit breeding and cant see that the market is down and their animals are not wanted to start with. A lot of neafite horse breeders are like that. They win one show and think their animal is hot stuff and gotta have another and think they can sell and that is not always the case. I see a lot of dumb horse breeders all of a sudden stuck with a bunch of animals and no market becasue they are irresponsible in planning.

Menifee, CA(Zone 9a)

coyotes here take any and all poultry, cats, small dogs, young goats and sheep, whatever they can get. people have flooded this area, taken away their habitat and food sources, then get angry when they eat what is available.
i think it is funny that you would want to neuter owners, then say you dont have to neuter animals if you have adequate housing, then talk about irresponsible horse breeders. no doubt they have adequate housing, just no market for what they breed. to me, that is irresponsible. lots of people dont want to contribute to overpopulation, lots just dont care. no pleasing everyone IMO

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

LOL! Yep your right! Its irresponsible too to breed when there is no market! Some people just dont get it though! Thats Why I said, nueter the people instead.. that part of the bod seems to be where some have misplaced their brain! Might just fix the problem on that end! LOL! I rather doubt it though, because some people are just to stupid to get it. And in these days, man if you are breeding without a contract that is signed sealed and delivered you are a fool when it comes to animals, especially horses.

There is no need to neuter something if the beast has some morals or the owners have some scruples.

Im a stallion owner. I would not want to alter our boy one iota even if he was never breeding because we prefer stallions and he is a big puppy love and there is no need but then he is not running with his girls when we dont want him to. His natural attitude can put a mare to shame, but then thats our boy! That old man is funny and usually when we were breeding him, he was a gentleman and unless he had our permission he would not approach a mare even in the pasture. And he knew the difference on when it was time and not. But then we educated his nuetering end. He was also not one to be interested in any of his daughters. More than I can say for some humans.

Owning animals is a responsibility and consent is consent. Liberties on the other hand... like I said, nueter the irresponsible owner. But then nuetering some animals will not keep them from performing the "deed". So rape is rape.

I think its irresponsible too to use abortions as birth control. Brings us back to responsibilities and morals as far as I am concerned.

To me what is sad is that the humane societies have become an abortion ground.. the animals are aborted way after birth and people are using them as excuses for throw away pets. Its sickening. And they are so full the abuse keeps going on. And again, goes back to morals. Or they are throw aways off the track or show ring and the world is flooded with unwanted animals and children that need to be taken care of. Again, it goes back to morals. And Im not talking mushrooms!

Being fruitful and to multiply is all in management. But anyway that is IMHO!
Multiplying is not always fruitful! There is a lot to be said in having less being more. More joy, more time, more tail wags and kisses. All a matter of seed saving! LOL!

Oh, I found my book.. back later with it. Gotta go tend some critters!

Ellendale, DE(Zone 7a)

Back to seed drying ...

I gather seed when it's nice and dry and practically popping off the plant.

For Mirabilis jalapa (Four O' Clocks), I just bend the neck of the plant to let the hand-grenade shaped seeds fall out of their little cradles (what a neat plant) into a cup. These go inside to be spread onto a plate to dry. The plate gets shaken from time to time to rotate the drying seeds.

For Portulacas, I do the same: Bend their little necks to shake the pepper-like seeds into a cup for indoor drying on a plate.

For Marigolds and Zinnias, I wait til they are "crispy" like Jonna said. These go indoors to be shelled later on.

Once everything is nice and dry, (this could take several weeks up to a few months) the seeds go into various little paper envelopes that I have saved over the year. Think of all the extra envelopes that come into your house throughout the year via bills and junk mail. These can be cut in half and glued on the cut end for seed storage. (Don't put the seeds in until both envelope and seeds are quite dry.) You can also use cash envelopes from your bank or key envelopes from the hardware store.

Usually, I write the seed name and the year it was gathered on a peel-off label, then stick the label onto my recycled envelope just prior to packing the seed. Then I tape the filled envelope shut (scotch tape), making sure to tape all around the edges if the seed will travel through the mail.

At the moment, I have seeds all over my bedroom in various dishes and states of dryness. The key is time. Give them plenty of time to dry. Forget about them for a few weeks if not for a few months. When you get back to them, they should be ready to store.

Menifee, CA(Zone 9a)

what a great idea about the envelopes !!!

Brewster, NY(Zone 6a)

Can we stay on topic, please? I find the disparaging remarks about the feral cats particularly offensive. Its one thing to complain; its another to complain and *do something about it*.

My homelife, career, and virtually every waking moment is spent helping abandoned animals find new homes and in educating the public to the burgeoning issue of pet animal population. Gardening is my therapeutic escape from the sadness and daily suffering of these poor animals. So I beg you, lets please stick to the topic.


Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Well, I found that book on seed saving.. it has just about every domestic flower in there.

Right now I dont have a therapuetic escape, been a tough week. Wish I did. The whole world is suffering... thats why alot of us save seeds. To garden again, to make a meal for ourselves and not be tormented by high prices everywhere, fight joblessnes and such to survive. Between feeding humans and animals it goes hand in hand for a good many.

I save envelopes from mail that gets opened when I get mail.. Ironically, the ones bills come in make the best ones for saving seed because you can cut them and tape them up in such away and put seeds in them for swapping and you can see a sample of the seeds through the address window without opening the envelope later after it is stuffed.

Ziploc baggies are great, but I have issues with my hands where some days I cant hardly hold a pencil, type or sleep because of pain and the dang zippers are a pain often to open so they get wasted here. Reusing them is a good notion, however, not always doable.

I dont have time to get all fancy with lables so usually the name and year harvested get scribed on the packet and thats all...nothing fancy and so what on any printed advertisements on them since they end to the trash eventually anyway.

While I love the fancy packets, generic is quick easy and does the job. Saves time. And fancy packets be they zippy bags with a lovely label or paper etc, those are great for gifting if gifting is your thing with seeds.

When I get a big load of seed from a particular plant then they go in big sandwhich zipper bags or larger.. never reuse the zippers. Sometimes recycling gets unsaniatary.

If i am packing for trading, I dont weigh stuff.. usually the person I trade with gets a heaping helpful. Everyone packs different and you really need to ask the trader who its packed, if its a fair trade.. Taking pictures of the trade helps to iron things out so no hard feelings go. Somtimes if a trade is not exactly fair a second offer might have to be in order...Following up too with a was everything ok, does help, but liek I said sometiems a photo of the trade before sending can save those unbalanced headaches later on. We all like to be treated fairly. And sometimes its not always possible to send everythign at once if you do larger trades.

Often I just use the little brown envelops like below..just depends on whats on hand.

Been trading seed for some 22 years and seen a lot of ways us gardeners like to do it up and I am sure liek most of us its all how budget and time dictate.

So anyway, how about trials of drying seeds? Some seed can be a challenge. Right now I am doing loofas.. Im not a happy camper with the results or the labor. Thought they woudl eb easier. I think I will have to try to start thenm earlier for a longer and better dry down perion. They are molding and the sponges are not to pretty.

Menifee, CA(Zone 9a)

could you please tell me the name of your seed saving book? i need all the help i can get. thanks

Ellendale, DE(Zone 7a)

The topic of this forum is: Seed Saving 2010--Whose in. I believe the topic changed 3/4 of the way down. Perhaps we should have begun a new seed saving thread.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Many do enjoy "going with the flow" in a thread. As if it were a conversation.

There's nothing to prevent anyone from continuing with anything they have to say about the first topic. Probably the first topic petered out.

In some forums, 80-90% of all posts are on just one thread. In the PNW forum, they named it "Apropos of Nothing".


Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Yes, BB, what is the name of the Seed-saving book, and the author please? Thanks!

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