I’ve been wanting to give seed saving a try ever since I first heard about the concept, embarssingly, only a year or so ago! My excuse for not having gotten to it yet is that, strangely, the herbs that Scrapple and I planted over a year ago in our makeshift indoor window box “garden” still haven’t gone to seed! There have been times when our basil (which looks like a topiary - it’s hilarious) hasn’t been harvested for weeks and it still doesn’t flower! Somehow they have become more like pets than plants and I’ll be sad if I lose one to anything other than a natural grand finale.
Last week my lavender finally started to go to seed! Excited for my first seed saving experience, I set out to find the correct technique to use. I found some great instructions and information from these resources:
The Seed Ambassadors Project (Via The Greenhorns)
Int. Seed Saving Institute
and more lavender focused info from Mountain Valley Growers
First I cut the flowers above the woodier/brown part of the stem, trying to select hardy looking flowers that had bloomed all the way up the bud. I collected a handful and tied them together into a tiny bouquet and then closed them hanging upside down in a paper sandwich bag. I left them to dry for several days in my closet (cool and dry) and when they were ready, removed the flowers from the stem, rubbing them between my fingers until the seeds popped out. The seeds are tiny but they’re in there! I discarded the stems, but you keep the flowers if you’d like (try sprinkling some on a honey drizzle over pecorino).
I stored them in a glass jar and will keep them in a dry dark place away from excessive heat. Lavender seeds have a short shelf life so I will need to plant them within a year.
Before you go through this whole process, identify your lavender and make sure the variety you have can be started from seed. While learning how to harvest the seed I learned that some varieties (the most popular Lavenders, the Lavandula x intermedias; sometimes called Lavandins, either do not make seeds or have sterile seeds.
I'd love to hear about your experiences with seed saving! Next I'll be trying tomatoes using the wet method and would love any tips you might have.