Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Collecting Seeds for Next Year's Harvest

Lettuce seeds come in tidy packages or atop a towering plant.  
Striving to be more self-sufficient I am determined to collect seeds for next year's garden. My vegetable garden is only in its second year and last year it didn't occur to me that it would be a good idea to let some plants go to seed so that I could collect the seeds. The light went on this spring when I had to buy more seeds. This year I am well on my way to having a nice seed collection for next year.

One of the things I love about gardening is the structure of the plants. I knew that lettuce would bolt (meaning it would quickly grow tall and produce flowers then seeds). I just didn't realize how tall it would become. These Romaine lettuce plants are flowering at 4.5 feet tall. 
The yellow flowers are small but numerous. 
They morph into fluff balls of seeds similar to dandelions.
Each plant is loaded with blossoms so in the future I will only let one plant of each variety go to seed. To leave more than one of each variety is not needed and the extra plants will just be pulling nutrients from the soil as they bolt, so one is enough.

I found that collecting the lettuce seeds was easy. I just pinched off the fluff balls and placed them in my palm.
Then I blew gently to blow away the white fluffy part leaving the heavier seeds behind.
These Romaine seeds are put in an envelope, sealed and labeled, ready for my winter garden.

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