Letting your plants go to seed

Letting Your Plants Go To Seed!

Going to seed is when the plant concentrates its energy on making seed rather than growing. The plant begins to grow flowers to be pollinated in order to produce fertile seeds. Naturally, these seeds are spread to produce more plants.  Plants that are grown to go to seed include fruits, beans, and peas. Plants that lose their desirable taste when they go to seed include lettuce, spinach, and broccoli. 

How to go to seed?

Getting your plants to go to seed is pretty simple. This is a natural process, meaning the plants do it on their own. If you see flowers on your plant, it has begun to go to seed. Once the flowers have been pollinated, they will develop seeds either in pods, fruits or under the flower head. 

Why I would want my plants to go to seed?

A benefit of letting some of your plants go to seed is that you will not have to buy seeds for the following year. The flowers are also a favourite of bees, and usually better for them than store-bought flowers, which are usually sterile and do not produce seeds. 

What if I do not want my plants to go to seed?

You can stop plants from going to seed by snipping off the buds of the flowers that are forming. This allows the plant to put all of its energy into the rest of the plant instead of in the flower and seeds. You may want to do this for herbs especially, as the leaves are usually the part that is harvested to be used in cooking. 

How should I store the seeds?

To store the seeds, put seeds of the same plant together in a jar, container, or plastic bag. Label the seeds and keep them in a cool, dry place. If you are planning on storing the seeds you may want to find a place to dry them. This can be done by putting them out in the sun or hanging them up in a garage or shed. Let them dry for one week. It is best to store the seeds in the fridge, but it is not necessary. Do not store them in the freezer. The seeds are viable for about 3 years in storage. 

When should I collect the seeds?

Avoid collecting the seeds from the plant too early. This could result in underdeveloped seeds that will not produce any plants. The best time to collect the seeds is right before the plant would disperse of them naturally. You can tell when this is going to happen by looking at the seed pods or flowers. If these are starting to turn brown and dry up then it is time to collect the seeds! 

When do plants go to seed?

Plants and vegetables can be separated into 3 categories in respect to seed collection: annual, biennial, and perennial. Annual means that the plant completes its life cycle in one year or season. These seeds should be collected the same year they are planted. Plants that are biennial take two years to complete their life cycle. These seeds should be collected the following spring or summer after you have planted them. Lastly, perennial plants have a continuous life cycle that can last for several seasons. However, the flowers or blossoms should appear either the first or second year after planting. 

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