Flower Seed Collecting in a Rainy Season


Marigold and Zinnia flowers drying out

Locals who have lived in the area for 40 plus years, tell me that these last 12 months have been the wettest.

With collecting flower seeds, I prefer to allow the flowers to dry completely on the plant, before removing the dead flowers to collect the seeds.

This of course is difficult when it rains all the time.  So this year, I have been removing partly dead / dry flowers at a time when it isn’t raining.  Then placing flowers of the same type together in a cane basket, to allow to completely dry within the basket.  Keeping an eye that the flowers have good ventilation so they dry out and not get mouldy.  Once completely dry the flower can be pulled apart to collect the seeds.

The above flowers are marigolds and zinnias, which will self seed (pop up next season by themselves from seed blown around but not manually planted by me).  However I like to still collect lots of flower seeds, so I can manually plant them.  This ensures flower plants grow where I want and need them.

Heirloom Seeds – an Amazing Journey of Discovery into a Lost World


Red bananas
Purple carrots
Yellow beetroot
White egg plants
Multi coloured corn
Lemon tasting cucumber
Brightly coloured spinach
Fully ripe yellow tear drop tomatoes
Fully grown, tiny compact capsicums

They are all examples of old heirloom varieties of fruit and vegetable – you won’t find them at any supermarket.

To grow heirlooms is to challenge one’s experiences and senses.

Want to start growing heirlooms? Check out The Diggers Club for information and seed purchases.

To grow only non heirloom varieties, is frankly to be boring. You can disagree.

My Favourite and Easy Way to Save Tomato Seeds


Simple and effective are adjectives that describe my gardening preferred style.  I am not retired.  I have a business and I am a Mum to an active toddler.  Even though I am passionate about sustainable living, it needs to also be time effective.  Hence why I mostly opt for easy and effective solutions.

Hence saving food seeds to plant for next season, needs to be quick. So this is what I do for saving tomato seeds:

* Slice tomatoes in half (or quarters for larger tomatoes) and squirt the seeds onto paper towels.
* Try to evenly spread the seeds around with your finger.
* Allow the seeds to completely dry onto the paper towels.
* Fold up each paper towel to fit into a small clean recycled jar. Store safely.
* Make sure the jar is labeled with what seeds are inside.
* Next season take the paper towels out of the jars.  With scissors cut small sections off the towel – only having a couple of seeds on each section.
* Plant each section of seeds into your prepared garden bed.

I also find this method easier for planting and allocating space between plants.   If more than one seed germinates from each section, I then just thin out the plants (choose the healthiest looking plant and remove the rest from that section).

* NOTE You need to make sure your tomato seeds come from open pollinated or heirloom tomatoes.  Don’t try this with grocery store purchased tomatoes.  Otherwise you might get a great bushy plant with no tomatoes.

Pretty easy hey!?!

Have You Ever Seen Blood Red Nasturtium Flowers?


Over the weekend I saw nasturtium flowers that were blood red. Most people, like myself have only seen yellow or orange nasturtium flowers – hence why I was excited to see such a rare variety.

With permission from the property’s owners, I took a handful of seeds home.

Why grow nasturtium? 

*  They are the easiest flowers to grow
*  Flowers, leaves and seeds are edible
*  Nasturtium will bring in beneficial insects into your garden

These new nasturtium seeds are now planted around our raised garden beds.

Fingers crossed.

Manual and Assisted Self Seeding Gardening Techniques

Autumn is my favourite time of the year in the garden.

Over the weekend, I have been planting for Autumn and Winter – ensuring we have food growing in our veggie patches throughout Winter.

So far I have planted broccoli, kale, lettuces, spinach, snow peas and coriander by seed – using two techniques (which happens to be my best two techniques for seed germination rate success).

1) Manually plant seeds directly into the garden beds, then thin them out (allowing the allocated space needed between plants). This has been more successful than transplanting from trays, toilet paper rolls etc.

2) Assist with plant’s ‘self seeding’ process.  Plants that ‘go to seed’ and allowed to stay in the ground, will disperse it’s seed via the wind for the next season.   I like to give a little direction with this self seeding process, by often pulling the seeding plant out and placing it in the vicinity of where I would like the seeds to disperse.


Curly leaf lettuce plant that has gone to seed, pulled out of the garden.


Placed the seeding curly leaf lettuce plant above a garden bed. Allowing seeds to disperse below into the garden bed.

Native American Food Planting Technique Update

It’s been almost five months since trialing an old Native American crop planting technique.

What I Would Do Differently?

* Next time I would allow the corn to grow to at least 50cm before planting the beans – ensuring the corn stalks are strong for the beans to attach to.

* I will only grow one variety of heirloom corn at any season.  Even though different varieties were grown at least 15 meters apart, I think cross pollination still occurred – meaning some of my corn got ‘muddled’ up and hence not great to eat (we get strong wind storms).

In Conclusion

* Overall I felt the experiment was a success and I will be planting beans, corn and pumpkin together again next season. The corn has now finished producing but the stalks remain – providing support for the beans. The bean growing season is not over yet.


Update On Our Native American Seed Planting Experiment


Apologies for my recent ‘silence’ after my last post about my Native American inspired seed planting experiment – it’s the silly season for work.

Here is a quick run down on the experiment:

Apparently the Native Americans, always planted corn, beans and squash together.   The corn stalks became ‘stakes’ for the beans to climb.   The beans produced nitrogen needed by the corn and squash (and helped stabalised the corn from winds). The squash’s (or in my case, pumpkins) large leaves acted as a mulch, suppressing weeds.

The corn is now approximately 1.5 meters high with the beans using them nicely as stakes.   The pumpkin look happy too.  The only setback was a tremendous wind storm we had a little while back.  Corn was flattened!  I attempted to save them using bamboo stakes, which has appeared to work well (beans have however used the stakes too).  Had we not had the wind storm we would never need the stakes.  I believe the experiment was successful.  So much so I will continue to plant this combination going forward as it is a great garden space saver – three crops in one area where I would usually only grow pumpkins.