When a crop is finished, often the temptation is to pull it all out. Some people let the bed lie fallow for a while, and some people plant out the bed with another crop. You can do both of these while letting one or two plants “go to seed” instead of removing them.
For many people, the most challenging part of this will be aesthetic. I also like my garden to look good, but for me, having a few plants run to seed adds another point of interest to the garden.
So why do I do this?
- I purchase seeds much less often.
- I know where my seeds have come from.
- These seeds have not be sprayed or dipped in any chemicals such as fungicides. So I loose a few. It is barely noticed.
Are there any issues with this?
- Genetic diversity can be a concern. This might ultimately, for various reasons, lead to sub-standard crops. I avoid this by not always collecting seed. I do periodically purchase seed from a reputable organic supplier.
Examples of plants that this works particularly well for include; Tomatoes, asian greens such a Bok Choy, Capsicums and other Chillies, Peas and Beans.
Collecting the Seed
This process varies, but in most instances it is critical that you don’t try to harvest the seeds too early. Generally, ensure that you let the seed pod dry completely. Sometimes it is useful to tie a bag around the seed pods to collect any seeds that fall. Once dry, you can carefully pick the seed pod and remove the seeds.
For fruits with a pulp (tomatoes, Paw paw etc) scrape out the seeds and allow them to dry on a container.
Storing the Seed
Store dry seeds in a labelled container such as a paper envelope. Then store this in a dry location. The seeds can be susceptible to fungal infestations so it is essential that they are stored in a dry location.