Thursday, September 22, 2016

WHAT TO DO WHEN THE HEAT IS ON

What do you do when the temperature and humidity are so unpleasant you can't possibly work outside? I toyed for a moment with household chores and then thought of something very useful that I could do gardening wise, in the house. Seed sorting.
Yes, I'm a seed saver. I collect seeds from my garden, gardens I visit, accept seeds from other gardeners and hoard old packets of seeds. Where do I do this? In my laundry room-and other places.
This is one of those other places-in the kitchen. But by far the largest collection is in the laundry room.


It is embarrassing to say I have seeds dating back to 2009. My first job was to go through all those packets and throw them away-oh the pain.
On the floor were two grocery bags of dried bluebonnet seed pods. 



I had already done one bag earlier in the summer by hand. This time I was a lot smarter. I trampled no the bags crushing all the dried pods until they released most of the seeds. So much easier on the hands. After putting them in  container and blowing away all the chaff I am left with a total of 14oz of seed that will not be in places I don't want them.


Next the scarlet flax seeds. 



I think I am finally getting there.


Next job is to sort them into seasons. Those to be planted in the fall like bluebonnets, larkspur, nigella, rose campion, violas and the winter vegetables, like carrots, beets, peas, lettuce, arugula. radishes. Those to be started in the late winter like stocks, poppies, nasturtiums. And those to be planted outdoors in the summer, zinnias, gomphrenas. Then there are the miscellaneous -unlabeled. I will just throw those outside and see what comes up. I like surprises.
With the promise of rain this weekend I think this might be a good time to start putting out some of those seeds. I will try once again to establish a bluebonnet colony on the septic field. One of the problems is the strength of the grasses out there; the enemy of wildflowers.  So, we decided to bag the grass in future so the ground is poorer. I will also add Indian paintbrush seeds which a semi parasitic putting their roots into grass. I have read that yellow rattle does the same thing and is a good way to establish a wildflower meadow.
Aren you ready to plant some wildflowers this fall?

8 comments:

  1. I am so impressed with gardeners like you who save seeds. I tend to save pods for dried arrangements but never use the actual seeds.

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  2. What a stockpile! I hope the heat breaks and you get some rain soon.

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  3. Looks awesome!

    I find that it's quite easy to collect and sort some seeds (partridge pea, for instance) and much harder to separate the seeds from chaff with others (e.g., false sunflower). If I'm just going to scatter the seeds, I wonder if the separation is all that important or I can leave the chaff in with the seeds?

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    1. Surely chaff does no harm; after all, that's how it works when people *aren't* part of the seed sowing process.

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    2. I agree with gardencat. I only get rid of the chaff if I can blow it away. I usually go outside with a tray and let the wind do it or blow on it. The seeds being heavier stay int he bottom. When it comes to gomphrena I just break up the dried seed head. Those cotton rats may be able to get those tiny seeds out but I can't. I crush bluebonnets and rose campion mainly to reduce bulk for storage. I have usually collected them before they throw their seed and sometimes they never do. Otherwise I would be over run with plants. Poppies are easy. The chaff is nothing more than adding compost

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  4. That seems like quite enjoyable work indeed. I do the same thing with seeds of whose identity I am unsure or that are old and may have a lousy germination rate - I throw them outside and see what comes up!

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  5. I do hope to make a wildflower garden this fall. I have had the seeds for a year but because of health problems, I was not able to plant them last fall. I have kept the spot covered to kill out the grass and hope to get them planted soon. I ordered them on the 'net and they are Texas natives. I hope I can get them going. Texas does have the most beautiful wildflowers and I enjoy them so much. Good luck on yours too

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  6. I need to do the same thing, as I have been avoiding this task for far too long.

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