Monday, 17 September 2012

Gardens: just sow stories - Being self-sufficient is one of the thrills of collecting your own seeds. And now's the perfect time to start


Being self-sufficient is one of the thrills of collecting your own seeds. And now's the perfect time to start.

Seeds comes in all shapes and sizes. I was introduced to a horse chestnut this year whose seeds were as large as oranges, but I never got to see the seeds of the bee orchids on the hill across the way. They were so tiny that they dispersed into an invisible cloud, to be carried on the wind to a new home. Some seeds stick, using your socks or the fur of animals to move to new territories. Some ripen within a succulent fruit to be eaten and pooped from a perch miles away from the parent plant. Each seed will have an ambition, every seedling a story.

Our plants are factories, storing up energy to put into their progeny, and we are never more aware of their modus operandi than at this teetering point between seasons when the seeds have to find a home. It is good to feel part of the cycle and I will busy myself, along with other creatures, to intercept some of this bounty for next year. Jam jars litter my windowsills, containing pods upturned so that the seeds dry properly.

Some seeds have a longer life than others and can be stored over the winter, but others need to be sown immediately. The angelica family and the buttercup family, for instance, prefer to tough it out in the ground or in a pot topped with a protective layer of sharp grit to deter the slugs. The wild Helleborus viridis my neighbour has growing on her land was a fine example. Given some seeds from it last year, I sowed them as soon as I got home, filtering the poisonous shiny black seeds along the crease in the palm of my hand into a pot. (Read further: Source)


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