Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Gathering Seeds

Seeing as how the official end of summer is just around the corner (nooooooo!), I thought you might want to gather seeds with me.

I'm a gardening noob, so for me, when I first accidentally discovered how easy it is to gather seeds for next year from certain plants, it totally blew my mind.  Next year, my garden will be completely different, and I'm going to see if there are any good places to get better tomato seeds than ones from the store, and once I start growing them, I'll do what is necessary to keep seeds for the next year, but for now, I'm sticking with two of the most outrageously simple seeds to gather.  I mean it, it's a complete outrage!  How DARE it be so simple?  Getouttahere! 

The first is marigolds.  Marigolds are amazing!  They grow fast and strong, and they have multiple blooms on each plant, and they repel harmful insects for some reason.  Eventually, each bloom the plants grow will reach the end of its life and die and dry out.  I, not knowing anything about anything, just let them be, whatevs. 

marigold deadheads
But then my friend Heather, who has a great deal more experience with gardening, told me that I should remove the deadheads.  So I started doing that.  And one time, instead of pulling the whole head off, I pulled just the dead flower part out by accident.  That's how I discovered the seeds!  It was a complete revelation to me that probably sounds really duh to a lot of people.  But gathering marigold seeds is easy!

Here's your deadhead.  This isn't the driest one ever, but that's fine.
And you just pull the seeds right out of the green.
Then just take off the orange that remains. 
And put it somewhere to dry.  You have to let them dry out completely before you even think about putting them into a closed container or else they'll get moldy.  That's right, they'll get moldy just because you THOUGHT about closing that container.  So don't think about it, OK.  Stop.  Just stop thinking about it.  Stop right now, I'm serious.

Cilantro!  It's delicious and easy to grow, but it goes to seed really quickly and easily.  Meaning flowers grow and the yummy green stops growing and it gets covered in seeds and then the plant dies off and what remains are stalks covered in seeds.  The trick is to just keep planting cilantro!  Never stop all summer long.  Plant one a week, or more, whatever, it'll be fine. 

It seems like cilantro is best when it's pretty young and each plant doesn't give you much.  You really have to grow a lot of them, kind of like this, except, actually, much more would be better.
And then it'll get taller and have flowers and seeds and you should have some new plants already planted by now.
It's the end of the summer, and I do have some small cilantro plants going, but I also have some nice old dry tall stalks covered in seeds.
They look about ready for Autumn, don't you think?
These little babies couldn't be easier to pull off and save.
If these were at all wet, I'd let them dry out, but these are dry.  Still, can't hurt to let 'em dry a little more before covering.  They'll be delicious salsa in about another eight or nine months, yay!!  Also, doesn't this picture make my hand look super-wrinkly?  I feel like some weirdo is trying to read my palm right now.

Hey, also, just because it took a really long time for these to grow and bloom, and then they were pretty short-lived, I want you all to enjoy my lovely sunflowers:


  1. I stuck some marigold seeds in a ziplock a few weeks ago and they were mouldy when I looked on the weekend! Boo! So I have collected more, and let them get VERY DRY before putting them away.

    Also - you can use those cilantro seeds in curry. They are coriander!

    1. Thank you for reinforcing about the importance of drying the seeds. YOU GUYS I WASN'T KIDDING.

      Oh my gosh, I'm so embarrassed that I actually totally forgot that they are coriander seeds! Which I never, ever have. I only ever have it ground. And usually I just use ground coriander in recipes when whole seeds are called for. YES, thank you, that is extremely important information!

  2. I loved your sunflowers! And I am printing out that picture of your hand and taking it to Miss Cleo!!!!


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