Save seeds to enjoy sweeter crop success

Save seeds from dipsacum fullonum. Picture by Tom Pattinson.
Save seeds from dipsacum fullonum. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

Saving seeds of plants – vegetable or ornamental – that have served you well this year is something to consider before they go in the autumn clear-up.

It’s not just money-saving – success with any crop is sweeter when you have initiated it.

Friend Tony offers tomato plants he has grown from last year’s saved seed, and Alan brings chrysanthemum plants he’s raised from cuttings.

Our collection, thus far, comprises three new generation, stringless runner bean varieties, Super Trio Mix from Suttons.

The mixture of flower colours formed a pleasant ornamental feature so we’ve gathered beans of each of them for a repeat performance in 2018.

One big marrow is put aside for seed extraction when time allows.

There are seed pods from a perennial wallflower that inhabits the drystone garden wall, pods from the old-fashioned hardy sweet pea, seeds of ancient woad (Isatis), and capsules of annual poppy.

Each type is placed in a brown paper envelope and stored in a cool, dry place.

But the cowslip (Primula veris) is different. Why go through the rigmarole of sowing in cell trays then transferring to pots? It’s far easier to spread seed near the existing group, where they do a far better job naturally.