Na­ture’s gift

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Growing - Words Julie Legg

Sav­ing seeds is easy, cost­ef­fec­tive and re­ward­ing.

Save seeds from herb flow­ers or re­serve from veg­eta­bles. Wash veg­etable seeds of any ex­cess flesh and spread onto news­pa­per to dry. Be sure to make a note of the seeds you are dry­ing, as many va­ri­eties ap­pear sim­i­lar.

Leave seeds to air dry in­side. Dry­ing times will vary from a week to sev­eral weeks, de­pend­ing on the size and type of seed, and con­di­tions such as hu­mid­ity.

Once dry, pack seeds in en­velopes. La­bel and in­clude the date, sow­ing time and any other handy hints you’ll need for next sea­son. Store pack­ets in a cool, dry, dark place in a sealed con­tainer. Seeds are best sown fresh and ide­ally should be ones from the pre­vi­ous sea­son. De­pend­ing on the seed, the qual­ity of its pack­ag­ing and stor­ing con­di­tions, they may last for two to three years. You can do a ger­mi­na­tion test with seeds to check if they are past their use-by date. Place a damp pa­per towel on a saucer, scat­ter some seeds over the top and wrap loosely in a plas­tic bag. Keep in a warm place. Af­ter sev­eral days, check for any signs of life. If only a small pro­por­tion of your test seeds grow, sow re­main­ing seeds thickly to in­crease the odds of a suc­cess­ful ger­mi­na­tion rate.

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