Like many of my seed saving in devours they have occurred by accident. This year saving carrot seeds with one of those cases. I must have missed picking on of my carrots last fall, this carrots would be completely woody to eat so I left in in the ground knowing that carrots go to seed after their second year.
To get the best results I only kept the first three umbels for two reasons. This will give me the largest and best quality seeds. Second, this means less flowers for the bees to pollinate so I should have a better changes of having a higher number of quality seeds. At the end of the summer I cut off the umbels and hung them upside down in my garage and forgot about them for a little while.
Harvesting the seeds is pretty easy, just rub the umbels between your hands into a large bowl or container. Pick out any remaining stems or big pieces of chaff. Rub between your hands a little more to cause the chaff to become closer to a powder.
Now with a quick shake in a sieve (used from the kitchen) most of the chaff should fall through leaving the seeds. Just to remember there are up to 2000 carrots seeds in a teaspoon so don’t go overboard since these seeds normally only last a maximum of 3 years in the refrigerator.
You may notice that the seeds do not look like the ones you buy in the packets and have funny little “beards” (which is actually technical name) surrounding the seeds. You can leave these on but it can cause the seeds to stick together making planting a bit more difficult. You can take care of these by giving the seeds a hard rub into the same sieve with firm pressure from your finger.
Though this takes a little more time than some other seeds in about 15 minutes of work I have fairly clean seeds which is more than enough that I can use for this season and more to share/trade with others.
Cilantro (at least that is what we call the plant in the United States) and the seed coriander as it is know to the rest of the world is the first plant I ever collected seeds from.
What I like about cilantro/coriander is that its flowers actually grow great and the bees seem to like them. As an added bonus the collection of seeds really couldn’t be easier. Like other plants I collect seeds on I let them mature as much as possible outdoors on their own and bring them indoors when the heavy rains come.
I give them a little extra time to dry by hanging the bunches upside down in my garage until I get around to the harvest.
To harvest simply find these flower shaped clusters of seeds and pull down to release the seeds and add to your awaiting container. If you don’t care as much how clean your seed collection is you can also run run hands down the whole plant from bottom to top. While this will drop many leaves in your collection, this is definitely the way to quickly harvest a large number of seeds.
Harvesting radish seeds is a little more labor intensive than some other seeds but still pretty easy to accumulate a decent number of seeds in a short period of time.
If you let your radishes be they will grow little flowers and pods like you see below. I like to let mother nature take care of this process as long as possible pulling them only after temperatures start to dip and heavy rains start coming. At that time I will pick the plants and hang them in the garage to dry a little longer.
Once the pods are dry, they should resemble those of the ones below.
All that is left to do is use your finger nail to split the pod open and with a quick swipe of your finger pop the seeds out into an awaiting container. One other option is to simply leave them in the pod and open them up during planting. Now they will take a significantly more space though if you only need a few seeds, definitely a viable option.