Picking up annuals, vegetable and herb plants from the garden center in the spring for garden beds and containers is fun though it can become expensive. But, you have a source for free plants! Just collect those seeds the flowers create and store them in cute little seed packet envelopes over the winter.
Seed Packet Envelopes
If you like to putter in the garden or around your yard, you have probably come across particular plants that do well in your area or those that you just love to grow.
A few years ago, I picked up a package of coleus seeds from a discount store. After sowing in late winter and growing the tiny seedlings on a sunny windowsill, I eventually transplanted them to a large planter on my front porch.
WOW! Was I surprised when those itty bitty plants grew into giants with so many vibrant colors. I made a mental note to be sure and purchase more of those seeds the following season.
But… the next year I looked everywhere locally and online but could not find the same seeds. I was so disappointed!
If only I had collected the seeds! Lesson learned.
This year, I was able to order a different variety of coleus seeds and this is how they are looking currently mid-July. I have high hopes they grow as big as the others and if so, I will for sure, collect those seeds!
Saving seeds How-to
Saving seed involves two steps:
- Harvesting, (or collecting) them at the right time
- Storing them properly until you want to sow them.
Some of the easiest flower seeds to collect and re-plant in the spring.
- Morning glory
- Snapdragon (among the easiest seeds to harvest and re-plant in the spring)
Vegetable seeds that are easy to save
Herb seeds that are easy to save
- Sweet Marjoram
How to collect seeds
Most seeds are ready to harvest after the flowers have finished blooming and petals have fallen off.
- Cut flower head with scissors or a knife.
- Collect the ripe seeds from the flower head and place on waxed paper or placed in a brown paper bag.
- Allow the seeds to dry for a week or so.
- Clean the seeds by removing any husks or pods. You can do this by hand or just shake them in the paper bag to loosen.
In order to preserve seeds for future plantings, they must be thoroughly dry. Drying out is essentially the final stage of ripening, and ensures that the seed does not become moldy while you’re waiting to plant it next year.
Wet seed must be spread out to dry on screens in a warm location, ideally with a light breeze from a fan to hasten the process. Most other types of seed can be dried while still on the plant. To determine if seed is sufficiently dry, push a fingernail into it – if it gives, it’s not yet ready.
How to store your seeds
The final step in saving seeds is to store them properly.
Package the seeds in the paper seed packet envelopes. Label the little envelopes with the name of the seed and the date. Place the envelops in a screw-top glass jar, lidded plastic storage container, or zip-lock freezer bag. Storage the seeds in a cool, dry, dark location. This prevents moisture from spoiling the seeds.
Most seeds, though not all, will keep for at least three years while maintaining a decent percentage of germination.
Free printable for sweet little seed packet envelopes
After you have collected and dried your seeds, keep them viable for spring planting. I created a printable for you to use to store those seeds. Scroll down for the download for pretty little seed packet envelopes.
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