Clean and Store Seed in Autumn

Autumn is an excellent time to collect seed from your favourite plants, in order to increase your stock or give away to friends. Find out how to collect seeds.

Some seeds need frost to aid germination, and are therefore best sown fresh in autumn. Find out how to sow fresh seed in autumn.

Many seeds don’t need a period of cold, however, and require light, warmth and water to germinate instead. They are therefore better sown in spring or, for more tender varieties, in early summer when all threat of frost has passed. Collect the seed in autumn, clean it, then store in a cool, dark spot until you’re ready to sow them.

It’s a good idea to ‘clean’ the seeds before you store them. This involves removing the chaff, which may harbour pests and diseases and could turn mouldy or rot. It can take a bit of time, but cleaning seeds on a damp day can be very therapeutic.

Seeds that are best stored until spring include cosmos, globe thistle (echinops), hydrangea, lovage, marigold (tagetes), penstemon, red orache, sea kale (Crambe maritima), salvia and sunflower.

Here’s how to collect and clean seeds.

It’s a good idea to ‘clean’ the seeds before you store them. This involves removing the chaff, which may harbour pests and diseases and could turn mouldy or rot.

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