Seed Saving and Cleaning Seeds

IMG_6204I spent some time cleaning seeds last week. I’d saved these seeds last fall around the time of the final freeze up. I had some volunteer snapdragons that were quite spectacular that I wanted to plant more deliberately this coming growing season. I also had allowed some dear tongue lettuce to go to seed  undisturbed where it had volunteered in the wood chips around my zinc tub planters. I gathered some hosta seed as well, along with some other annual flowers–Four O’clock and Bachelor’s Buttons. I selected a couple of my nicest ancho peppers to save seed from because I ran out of store-bought seeds for this variety.

IMG_5781

Foreground: Deer Tongue Lettuce gone to seed.

The lettuce, Bachelor’s Buttons, and Four O’ Clocks I will direct seed when the weather IMG_5771warms, but the hosta, peppers, and snapdragons I will start inside under lights. I have a feeling that winter is going to hang on this year like it hasn’t in a couple of decades, so I will start the hosta first and wait until later in March to start the snapdragons and peppers.

It should be interesting to see what forms the hostas will take. I picked seeds from the biggest and best colored hosta–yellow and blue. I have a bed of hostas that I would like to complete, and I need a dozen or so big hosta for the back row. I’m having trouble getting plants established because of the deep shade and competition from maple and cedar feeder roots that suck all the moisture out of the thin layer of soil above rock. I don’t want to spend any money at all on plants that might die on me, so I am starting my hosta from seed.

I’ve done this before–saving seed from hosta and growing my own new starts. I could dig from existing large clumps, but I want a spectrum of colors and textures, and the genetic variation in the seeds that I collect provide it. It takes patience and nurture but the rewards are great. I can select exactly the types and colors of plant that I want, and I don’t have to shell out any cash!

It should be an interesting growing season. Now I just have to tackle my least favorite job–cleaning and sanitizing my grow light set up! Begonia

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