Which plant has the lightest seed

Harvesting seeds instead of buying them: tips for your own seeds

If you want to harvest, you first have to sow the seeds: Most hobby gardeners buy their seeds every year. Most of the time, a sachet of seeds doesn't cost a lot. But harvesting seeds yourself is worthwhile: In this case, you can be sure that the plant will thrive and adapt well at the location. In addition, you can be sure that the seeds have not been genetically manipulated - a compelling argument, especially when it comes to vegetable seeds.

"If you want to harvest seeds yourself, you have to catch them and make sure that they are ripe," says Martin Nickol, curator of the Botanical Garden at Kiel University. According to the custodian, the state of maturity is reached when the plant voluntarily gives up the seeds. With the poppy seeds and with the Columbine The ripe capsules tear open so that the grains are flung out. In such a case you have to make sure that you are faster than nature.

Tea bags are ideal for harvesting seeds

"You can prevent the seeds from falling straight back to the ground by putting a teabag over the almost ripe capsules," says Nickol, revealing a trick. This is tied with bast underneath the fruit. If the seeds have fallen out, you can simply cut off the stem with a bag. Tea bags are ideal because they are air-permeable and retain their shape even when it rains.

You know what you have

There are many advantages to harvesting seeds yourself. "You know what you have," says Ursula Reinhardt, biologist and employee of the Association for the Preservation of Crop Diversity (VEN) in Fulda. In the case of seed sachets, it is not clear whether the plants are suitable for the location and the soil. But if they have already proven themselves in the garden, you can be sure that the next generation will also develop well under the conditions. "In addition, the seeds from our own harvest were definitely produced without genetic engineering," says Reinhardt.

Pay attention to the seed strength of plants

In order for the desired result to actually develop from the seeds, according to Reinhardt, two requirements should be met: "The plants must be seed and variety-resistant." This means that the properties of a plant are actually inherited and thus are retained over the course of several generations. You don't see it in the seed, you have to know the plant. For example, if you have a variety that has been stably propagated from seeds in a region for many years, it is considered to be solid.

F1 hybrids are not suitable for seed harvesting

But there are variations: "With columbines you can be sure that the characteristics of the parent generation are not evenly distributed among the offspring," explains Klaus Knospe from the Gesellschaft der Staudenfreunde (GdS). They split up, which can be clearly seen later by the color of the flowers. "If you have grown plants from purchased seeds that are labeled F1 hybrids, you cannot reproduce them sensibly," explains biologist Reinhardt. The seeds are often not fertile or the variability in properties is very high.

The easiest way to do this is with self-fertilizers

You can also harvest vegetable seeds yourself, but each culture has its own characteristics. It's easiest with tomatoes, Lettuce, peas, and French and runner beans. "These are self-fertilizers," explains Reinhardt. Most of the others are cross-pollinators. "You then have to let at least 100 plants bloom together to prevent inbreeding."

Harvest tomato seeds

If, for example, hobby gardeners have a particularly tasty tomato that they would like to cultivate for the next year, they can remove a few seeds from the pulp. If you look closely at the kernels, you can see a slippery shell around each seed. "This jelly contains germ-inhibiting substances so that germination does not start in the pulp," explains Reinhardt. Otherwise, the moisture in the fruit would trigger germination when it is warm.

"This jelly has to be broken down," says the biologist. She recommends fermenting the seeds with a little water and sugar. The jelly separates, sinks and the seeds can be collected on the surface of the water. The seeds are then left to dry and can be stored until spring.

Simply blow away pigeon seeds

"Basically, all self-harvested seeds should be cleaned," says Knospe. To do this, the seeds are separated from the fruit. The coarse parts can be easily removed. The perennial expert also advises you to let the seeds trickle on a piece of paper and blow them lightly against them. So-called deaf seeds, i.e. non-germinable seeds, are also sorted out - they are lighter. Martin Nickol recommends checking whether there are any pests in the seeds. "You have to do this regularly, because the bean beetle can only become visible after a few days or weeks and then destroy all other seeds," explains the expert.

Glass or paper bag: that's where the experts argue

The cleaned seeds then dry in an airy and cool place. "But you have to be careful that mice or sparrows don't mess about it," says Nickol. The seeds are safely stored in screw-top jars. In addition to the name, it is helpful to note the year of harvest. "Tomato seeds remain viable for up to eight years if you have done everything right," says Ursula Reinhardt. Carrot seeds, on the other hand, only have a shelf life of one to two years.

The Royal Garden Academy in Berlin, on the other hand, advises not to store the seeds in lockable jars over the winter, where residual moisture can mold the seeds. Paper bags are better.

Cold germs have to get warm before winter

Not all grains are stored. "The seeds of Christmas roses you put them back in the ground as quickly as possible, "explains Knospe. These so-called Cold germ need the winter cold so that germ-inhibiting substances are broken down. They prevent germination from starting before winter because the tender seedlings would not survive the cold season without damage.