Collect

As you've seen and read about me before, I'm not a "clean everything out of the garden as soon as it turns brown" kind of gardener. No, I'm more of a "wait until the last possible minute before getting things ready for spring" guy for sure. That means that seeds stay on plants for a long time, probably longer than they should. But the birds appreciate it to some extent, and I like volunteer plants.


Although it's not quite time to start seeds indoors here, it is time for me to take stock of what I have, and also time to collect the seeds that I have in plenty. There's a seed swap later this week hosted by Schlafly Gardenworks, and I want to ensure my extra seeds get put to good use (by other gardeners).

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The image above shows the seeds of red Malabar spinach (Basella alba 'rubra'). As usual with my annual vines I get anywhere between a hundred zillion and a million zillion seeds from it, and I only need at very most ten seeds for my own garden. Plenty to share! Plenty left on the vine after I pulled these too:


Next up is another plant that I'll need maybe four of in my garden next year, Hyacinth bean (Lablab purpureous):


I'll break the pods open before the seed swap, as most people will only want a couple of the black beans to plant -- this vine gets big! (Don't all of the vines I grow get big though?) Again, plenty of these left on the vines, especially in the spots I can't easily reach:


Plenty of sweet basil too (Ocimum basilicum):


That's one plant that I just can't resist letting go to seed late in summer. The bees just love it! I'm going to have more of these on the deck next year, keeping at least one of them pruned and flower free. We'll see how diligent I am...

Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum):


I am not diligent about deadheading these, and get pounds of seeds every year. (Okay I exaggerate, but it's lots of seed and it mainly stays on the plants and produces even more garlic chives every year. What is wrong with me?)

I'm not too sure about these:


These are castor bean (Ricinus communis) seed pods. Usually I grow the 'Carmencita' variety which produces big, bright red pods all summer long. I did have one of those growing this year, but I chopped all of the pods off while unripe to reduce the load on the plant -- those things are heavy!


This year I grew mainly a newer variety called 'New Zealand Purple' or just 'Purple' depending on where you get your seed. These have much smaller seed pods that are produced much later in the growing season, so I'm wondering if they've had a chance to fully ripen yet. (Here's a photo that shows both varieties together. 'Carmencita' is in the background.)


They look like they did, but I'm not entirely sure. I don't know if I'll bring any of these to the seed swap -- probably a small number if I do. I should have harvested these weeks ago and done a test indoors to see if they'll germinate. I'll do that for myself soon, but there's no time before the swap.

I guess there are some drawbacks to being a "last minute" gardener sometimes.

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Steve Lau  – (January 15, 2013 at 6:02 PM)  

I think I have garlic chives growing all throughout the lawn as they have those distinct white flowers.

They are edible and can be used in cooking, or juicing if you have enough of it.

Jason  – (January 16, 2013 at 12:11 PM)  

I like the precision with which you estimate your seed production. There are times I also think some of my plants have produced up to a hundred zillion seeds. I keep intending to plant garlic chives but always shy away at the last minute. Maybe I should just put it in a pot.

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