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Save Money and Species by Saving Seeds

By P. Allen Smith September 14, 2009

Not too many years ago, if you wanted to have a garden from one year to the next you had to save seeds. Vegetable and flower seeds were a vital part of farm life and exchanging them with neighbors and friends was an important part of rural culture.

Today, with so many seeds available to us from seed racks and catalogs, it may seem a bit pointless to save. But if you garden, you know that seeds can get expensive, so why not save a little money?

My basket flowers were spectacular just a few weeks ago. Since the seeds are difficult to find, I save as many as I can. After the flowers fade and the seed pods dry, I break them off and sort out the seeds. Whether it is basket flower or any other seed producing flower, I like to take the seed heads and place them on newspaper in a tray. As they dry, the seeds begin to fall, and then I store them in film canisters or jars and label them for planting in the spring.

I save seeds from a wide range of my old garden standbys — everything that is not a hybrid because these don’t always come back true from seeds — plants such as my Formosa lily, verbena-on-a-stick and even flowering tobacco.

One of the nice things about saving seeds is that you may preserve an heirloom strain that is no longer commercially available. So by spending a little time in the garden gathering seeds, we may keep some of our favorite garden flowers from being lost forever.