Seed Swaps

Adventures in seed saving

25 Feb 2010
-6°C / 21°F

We had to get our roof replaced in the fall. Hours before the roofers got here (and utterly destroyed any remnants of my front yard garden) Michael and I hurriedly gathered up all the nasturtium seeds we could find, harvested the rest of the catnip, and cut all the dried up flower heads off my White Swan Coneflowers.

I put all the flower heads into a brown paper bag, shoved the bag into my kitchen cabinet, and promptly forgot all about it. Until today!

The last time I saved flower seeds (not counting nasturtiums) was with my mom. I was probably around 6 years old at the time. I remember sitting around the dining room table, sorting through piles and piles of dried marigold flower heads. Such tedious work! But my mom always had the nicest marigolds… :)

I had to look up what echinacea seeds looked like. Luckily, I found this description: “The seeds look like off white space shuttles.” Space shuttles? Really!? Michael laughed when I told him. He asked, “So how did people describe them 40 years ago??” :)

But it’s an apt description, ‘cause the little buggers really do look like beige space shuttles. Separating them from the flower heads was a different thing entirely. Those things are sharp — ouch! I managed to separate seeds and chaff from about 20 or 30 blooms without any serious injury. I’ve read that you can soak them to make the process easier, but I didn’t bother.

So I ended up with a baggie full of seeds and chaff. I’m estimating about 70% of this is chaff — I just don’t have the patience to separate everything. If I do any swaps, I’ll separate as many seeds as I need…



I know exactly what you mean with the separation of those echinacea! I collected some seed from plants this year that were finally established and had enough to bother collecting – and OUCH! Not fun – so I did as you have, put them in a baggie and separate them as I need them. Beautiful flowers and powerful weapons when dried!

Posted on 25 Feb 10 (over 6 years ago)


Folia Helper

United States6b

One of my favorite Echies. I also have suffered the pricked fingers from seed collecting, but worth it as they grow pretty true.

Posted on 25 Feb 10 (over 6 years ago)

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Hamilton, Ontario


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