Saving Seed – Columbine & Chives
Some people think of seed saving as a fall activity, but if you wait you will miss the opportunity to collect many seeds that your garden produces. The best way to know when the correct time to gather seeds is requires knowing when the plants you wish to save seeds from flower or fruit. Some plants, such as hellebores flower during the winter months. Seeds of these plants are typically ready by late winter or early spring.
Plants that flower in the spring, such as the chives above – or columbine, generally produce seed by the end of May or early June. Collecting seeds from chives is really easy – but before allowing this plant to set seed, be aware that any seed you do not get will produce new plants. If you wish to save just a few seeds and not have this plant everywhere in your garden, cut the majority of the flowers off as soon as they fade. To make sure none of the remaining flower heads produce seed falls to the ground, cover the top of the flower head with pantyhose and gently tie the pantyhose around the stem of the plant using plant tie material. This will prevent damage to the stem and allow the seeds to mature properly.
The pantyhose method is an acceptable way of collecting any type of seed that forms in a pod. It is an especially useful method to use if you are unable to keep a close eye on your garden or if you are collecting seeds – such as touch-me-nots – that have a reputation of exploding and shooting seed all over the garden.