Seed saving is fun, free, and strangely addictive. I now have to walk with my hands in my pockets in other gardens, because I suffer from an overwhelming temptation to start stealing seeds!
This year I sowed a wildflower patch in the spring, and come late summer all of the annual wildflowers had been pollinated and their seed heads had ripened and were left swaying in the wind. Seeds have many amazing natural techniques for dispersal, plumes to blow away in the wind, or velcro like claws to hitch a lift on an animal, but you can also give them a helping hand by collecting them to sow next year. I leave mine till they are nice and dry and have turned a golden brown colour. After a stint of dry weather I go out to snip off the seed heads. If you are collecting a large amount you can put them straight into a paper bag and then sieve away the chaff later when you are indoors away from the wind. Or if you are just doing a few, you could sprinkle them straight into envelopes ready for storing, like I’ve done in these videos. The reason I keep going on about it being dry is that seeds can go mouldy if left in moist conditions and the chances that they’ll germinate for you the following year are lessened.
Make sure you make a note of the date and where you collected them from. Seeds can be dormant for hundreds of years but the chances are they’ll have a better chance of success the fresher they are. Each plant can produce thousands of seeds, so it’s a great way to save money and cut down the amount of packets you have to buy at the start of the season. Seeds can also be great links to the past. My mum found a packet of Wallflower seeds from the 70’s that my Granddad was growing commercially to supply a plant nursery in Dagenham, which is now the site that I work at! I was able grow the same flowers that he was some 45 years ago.