Did you know that you can collect seed from many popular garden plants? In fact it’s often better to collect your own seed. Then you can choose plants that you know and love. If you time it just right you’ll find green seeds for sowing now or dry seeds to store for sowing next year. It’s good to be able to see the parent plants and choose the best specimens to gather seed from.
Cornflowers are brilliant for your country garden… they are easy to grow and good for cutting. Bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects love them too. It’s time to collect the seed now. Choose a dry sunny day and collect the seed heads when they are ripe… they will be a pale straw like colour.
Break open the capsule with your fingers and discard the casing and any damaged seeds. If you look carefully you’ll see that some of these had already been nibbled by a mouse or vole.
You will be left with small shiny bullet shaped seeds with bristles at one end.
You can sow the seed now, in September or even in October if it’s mild. Alternatively wait until next year then sow in February, March or April. Like many hardy annuals, autumn sown cornflowers usually make stronger, better plants and will start flowering earlier next year. You could do what I do and sow in autumn and spring. I think that’s called hedging your bets!
If you decide to keep some seed to sow later on just save it in paper envelopes in a cool dry place. Some people say it’s best to keep it in a fridge but I find that a cool dry shed is fine. Seed often remains viable for several years.
If you would like to make your own seed packets then have a look at my post on Seed Collection and Storage.