I think I make Mexican food more during the spring than any other season. I see the cilantro growing and think to myself, “Wow, I really want tacos!”
Yum! Fresh cilantro for salsa, tacos, chili…
cilantro in bloom
Cilantro is pretty when in bloom, and the flowers are a beautiful edible garnish. As would be expected, they taste faintly of cilantro.
unripe cilantro (coriander)
The cilantro has begun forming seeds, but they are not quite ready yet.
When the seeds are completely brown they are ready to be collected. I let mine dry on a napkin overnight to be sure that extra moisture will not cause them to mold during storage.
cilantro seeds (aka coriander)
I plan to grow more cilantro when it starts cooling down in the fall. I am hoping that I will have some volunteers too, but if not I should still have plenty.
Do you save seeds from your herbs? If not, you should try it. It is pretty easy and is a great way to save money in your garden.
If you are interested in saving other kinds of seeds, click on the “How to Save Seeds” tab.
Now I’m in the mood for a crispy quesadilla filled with sauteed onions, savory chicken, bell peppers, melty cheddar cheese, and served with spicy salsa and LOTS of cilantro! Yum!
I love to save money in my garden. If your okra did well for you this year, consider leaving a plant or two to set seed for next year.
Saving your own seed means that not only are you saving money, but that you are also growing a variety that has already proven itself in your area.
All you have to do is resist the temptation to harvest the pods for my easy no-slime okra recipe, and wait for them to turn brown.
When the pods begin to split, remove them from the plant. Do you see the brown seeds in the picture?
Store in a cool, dry place for next year. Remember to label them!
Don’t be like me, who has about a hundred tomato seeds from last season and was so sure she would remember what variety they were that she didn’t label them. I’m pretty sure they are ‘Roma’ tomato seeds; I hope I’m right.
Now you can use the money saved to buy a new variety to try, like purple carrots or yellow tomatoes!
Do you save seeds, or does the process intimidate you?
Dinner plate hibiscus are a great flower to grow in North Florida. Mine were easily grown from seeds given to me by a neighbor. Your neighbors are fabulous sources for free seeds- if they can grow it, you probably can too!
Mine really started blooming in their second year and have been low maintenance; I don’t give them any special watering or fertilizing, and they do just fine. The flowers are showy and extravagant.
The seeds begin to dry out around the middle of July. It’s kinda hard to find a dry day on which to harvest them, as summers are quite rainy in the panhandle.
I seized a moment between showers and I clipped off the tops. I couldn’t help but admire them, the relaxed green leaves contrasting with the structured brown seed pods.
Pretty symmetry. You can see the ripe seeds ready to be dispersed.
Saving Dinner Plate Hibiscus Seeds
The seeds are so ready that a few rough shakes into a bowl dislodged many of the seeds. Some hearty smacks against the sides and bottom of the bowl released many more.
Many little critters were also interested in the seeds too, can you see the dried carcasses? There were also a gazillion tiny bugs that scurried about, rudely exposed to the light. To prevent them from eating the seeds or laying their eggs in them, I bagged the dry seeds and stuck them in the freezer. This should eliminate the bug issue. The seeds should be fine-after all, seeds are exposed to freezing temperatures in the winter anyway, even in Florida.
Although the bulk of my garden space is dedicated to edibles, I must have my flowers. I’m planning a post on my top 5 flowers for North Florida. I have found some that will bloom early in the spring and I have found some that will bloom even in the hottest, most humid days of summer.
Fresh lettuce has so much flavor! I grew some Bibb Buttercrunch lettuce from some free seeds. I really liked the taste and I want to grow it again, so I let it bolt, or go to seed.
The problem with lettuce seeds is that they are small and often stick to remnants of the flower and fluff.
One way to save the seeds is to wait and let the stalks dry out, then crinkle the seed heads in your hands to release the seeds.
I didn’t want to wait.
I had a crazy idea.
What if I stuck the seed heads in my Ninja (food processor) for a bit??
So I tried it.
It separated the chaff from the seeds quite well! I gently blew the chaff off the top and ta da! I was a little afraid that I would end up with lettuce seed puree but I didn’t. 🙂
Look at that-enough lettuce seeds to grow salad for all my neighbors. And their rabbits.
My brain kept thinking.
If this could be done with lettuce seeds, I wondered, what about those tough seedpods from my daikon radishes and broccoli?
daikon radish seed pods
It worked quite well for the daikon radishes. Just a second or two of the food processor and the seed pods had released the seeds.
Separating broccoli seeds was a snap.
I’m so excited about free seeds! I have an entire post on how I get free seeds, and saving seeds from your own garden is one of the ways to get them. I also have a post with more money-saving garden tips.
So what do you think of this method of saving lettuce seeds? Or do you think that this method is crazy? Do you know of anyone else who saves seeds this way? If so, I’d love to hear about it!
The dreaded pasty lima beans of your childhood are not the same as the ones that I harvested from my garden.
The Jackson Wonder lima beans that I planted in my Florida garden in March have been growing well and producing pods. Some of them have started drying so I decided to harvest.
By harvesting the pods now, I have some for fresh eating and some for dried beans or seeds.
I harvested half of my double row to get these. Not much of a harvest for the space, but they are tasty.
Pretty too. Pale green lima beans and purple-speckled dried beans.
Some of the soft ones have the pretty purple mottling too. They are the prettiest lima beans that I have ever seen.
Here are the dried beans. I can use them in hearty soup later or use them as seeds next year.
Time to make some succotash with some of these yummy garden vegetables! Recipe coming tomorrow!
I had some yummy ‘Athena’ cantaloupes recently and decided to save some of the seeds for next year. ‘Athena’ cantaloupes are F1 hybrids, which means that they may not be exactly like the one I bought, but I’m not too picky.
After all, why buy seeds in a packet when I just bought some in a cantaloupe?
Let’s keep this simple, shall we?
Scoop the seeds out of the cantaloupe.
Put the seeds and pulp in a glass of water. Smush the pulp to release the seeds. Pour off the murky water and repeat the smushing and pouring process.
Once the water is clear the seeds are clean.
Dry the cantaloupe seeds for at least 24 hours.
Store your seeds in a cool, dry place.
I recently visited a local strawberry farm. It was the end of the season, but I still managed to find some berries! You can read about that soon!