One of these days the growing season will come to an end with the first frost. The thought of next season will then kick off with much anticipation. There are some tasks that can be done now as we both approach the end of the season and the thought of next year.

Collecting seeds is one way to bridge the past and the future garden. One easy plant to collect seed from is the bean. I let some mature for next year. This is from non-hybrid varieties. The “heirloom” varieties are likely to come true to type. It takes two specific parents to achieve the hybrid varieties.

I let a few seed pods from my asparagus beans mature to a dry state on the plant. One can wait until the bean bod splits to reveal the seeds. That is the time to gather and put into a container for storage. All will be fine as long as the seeds are dry and don’t mold over the dormant season. Seeds have been known to sprout in the garden next year from seeds I missed gathering.

Many flowers can be harvested as well. Coneflowers are good to collect as long as you leave some for the birds to feed on. Some of the flower seed heads are rough on the fingers. Wearing leather work gloves is a good idea.

Cool and dry are the keys for seed storing. Some people prefer to put the containers in the refrigerator. The freezer can work too. A cool and dry spot in the house can be successful.

Various containers are used for storing seeds. Used envelopes are common. Label the type of seeds and secure the envelope. Glass containers and plastic bags are options as long as the seeds are completely dry.

There is a desire for growing local ecosystems. Collecting wildflower seeds is becoming popular. Obtain permission from the land owner or proper land management agency prior to collecting.

Check your seeds occasionally during the winter. That way if something goes astray, you have time to order the seeds you want.

You can find out more information on this and other horticulture topics by going to the Riley County, K-State Research and Extension website at riley.ksu.edu. Gregg may be contacted by calling 785-537-6350, visiting 110 Courthouse Plaza in Manhattan or e-mailing geyeston@ksu.edu.

Recommended for you