July 29, 2014 Posted by WV Sprout
Columbine (Aquilegia sp) Columbines are one of my favorite flowers. I have a lot of white ones in a shady moist area along my front path. These are the ones I am harvesting and will share. They are mixed in with astilbe, bletilla, and omphalodes under two dwarf sargent crabs. They are wonderful in shady woodland gardens. They have relatively few garden pests and need minimal care. If they are happy, they self seed and show up in fun spots around the yard. Although not invasive at all, they are easily pulled out if you have too many. After you’ve collected columbine flower seeds, the easiest way to grow them is to plant directly in the ground where you want them to grow. Plant columbine seeds late in the fall so they can germinate in the spring. The first year you’ll probably get only foliage, but by the second year your columbines will show a flush of blooms. The three photos below are all photos I have taken through the years. The one on the left is the state flower of Colorado (Colorado Columbine), (Photo 1) the one in the middle is the little white one from my yard (Photo 2) and the one on right is the small native columbine, Aquilegia canadensis. (Photo 3)
|1 Colorado Columbine|
|2 White columbine in my yard for seed share|
|3 Columbine native to WV|
| 4 This is one small pod from the plant. The |
columbine stem will be tall and
branched with lots of pods like this.
|7 A container full of small seeds and|
some chaff. Next I will put it through a sieve
and wind up with a nice collection of seeds.
|8 Stokesia in early summer in full bloom.|
I love it!
|9 Flower bloom in August. S|
till sparsely blooming which means more
seeds to collect later. Not as intense blue
as the first flush earlier in the summer.
|10 Seed heads forming. Don't pick yet!|
|11 Wait - a little more patience needed.,|
The heads need to close up slightly more
as the seeds are hard and not ready to pop out.
|12 Here they are - the seed head has closed up slightly. |
When you pull back with your fingers, the seeds practically
|14 Baptisia Australis in bloom.|
|15 Look how easily the seeds fall out.|
Too bad it is not as easy to start!
|16 Part of our luncheon were these WV 63 tomatoes |
shared by Kitty Sprout
|17 Mamsprout demonstrates seed collecting |
to the Hort Committee
|19 Many different seeds - Red Hot Poker in the foreground.|
Another one where the seeds were so ripe they fell right
out of the pod into the baggie.
|20 Rudbeckia on my front hillside. What a show!|
|21 Look closely. Chaff and seeds are circled by the large blue line.|
Within the two smaller circle are seeds. Chaff is the longer skinny piece,
seed is the little short stubby piece. You can see how dried the seed
Fennel is indigenous to the Mediterranean shores but has become widely naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks. **Note - I am not in either area but my fennel has returned now for 3 years, including last year's very cold winter with a lot of snow cover.
My primary reason for growing fennel is that it is a host plant for the anise swallowtail - so look for seeds from my plant at the fall Shirley Meniece conference. It is easy to harvest and collect and produces an abundance of seeds.
I started harvesting in August as the seeds ripen. The easiest way to harvest as the seeds are small and prone to dropping when ripe is to cut the entire seed head and some stem off and drop upside down into a container. Then the seeds will fall into the container. As the head continues to dry additional seeds will fall. I just continued to collect until now, then rubbed the heads some to get more seeds to drop. Spread out on a piece of white paper and now will package. You will get an occasional very tiny spider, but they will crawl right out of the seeds on the paper to try to escape.
(Photos 22, 23, 24, 25 & 26)
|22. Fennel plant in yard. A little|
hard to photograph as it is so lacy and delicate.
Fairly tall - about 4'.
|23. Fennel seeds not quite ready to harvest.|
|24. Ripe seeds. The head is droopy now and|
seeds are brown.
|25 Cut the seeds and put the entire head and stalk|
upside down into a container. The seeds will then just
fall on their own into the bottom as they continue to ripen.
|26. All of this from maybe just a dozen |
cuttings. Plenty left outside for the birds.
October 20, 2014
It is 35° outside - time to get another seed collected. My hyacinth beans (Lablab purpureus) are finally ready. And this is the easiest one yet! No work here.
Our hyacinth bean stories may be found on 'Kitty's Litter' post. The hyacinth bean seeds should be collected before a heavy frost. It is said that Hyacinth bean was introduced from Asia and North Africa in the 1700s and was grown at Monticello around 1817, thus earning it the additional name of the Jefferson bean. The pods are 3-5" long and shiny purple, like patent leather. Lovely. The more moisture you have during the summer months, the more beans (seeds) inside the pods. If you pick the pods when shiny the seeds inside will be green and not yet ready. Wait until the pods are brown and dried and somewhat shriveled. Just split the pods open and inside are 3-5 lovely black seeds with a white stripe on the side. As there is a lot of moisture in the air today I will let the bean dry inside before putting away. Legume seeds should breathe, so store in a cool place and preferably not sealed in a plastic bag. Remember that hyacinth beans should only be eaten cooked as they can be toxic raw. We will start these seeds indoors next year - remembering to plant in a larger pot than the seed starter trays that we used this year. We will try to find something that can go straight in the ground as they do not tolerate transplanting well. If using in a container try a large size peat pot or a deep paper cup that will disintegrate in the soil. The seeds can also be saved and planted directly in the ground after the last frost date.
|July photo of my bean climbing|
the boy's old basketball pole. By October
the backboard was covered and the beans
growing back down the pole.
|Purple pod in the middle - not yet ready.|
Brown & dried pot at top - ready.
Harvested seeds at bottom.