If you’ve been reading my blog for a bit you’ll know I’m an avid seed saver. Today I noticed that my Calendula flowers had formed a lot of seed heads. A couple of years ago I grew both Calendula Strawberry Blonde and Calendula Zeolights. I love both of them as cut flowers.
This year many grew back from dropped seeds but I would like them in other areas of the garden so I’m going to save some seed for next spring. Harvest your seed once the dew has dried on the plant so usually mid day is a good time to collect seed.
Calendula seeds are so easy to find on the plant as it forms a cluster of tightly packed seeds shown in the photo above. I wait until they are almost a tan colour before harvesting the seed. It’s a delicate balance waiting for seed to ripen as you don’t want them to drop to the soil before you get to them but you don’t want green unripe seed. To harvest seed take an envelope or paper lunch bag and pair of scissors to the garden. Be sure to write the name of the flower on your envelope especially if you are harvesting different colours of calendula. Pop the seed heads into their envelopes and bring them inside.
Remove any petals and chaff from the seed. In the photo above I have removed the outer shell that held the seed. At the bottom are the calendula seeds. The rest at the top is chaff and can be composted.
In the middle of the above photo there are two seeds that are still a bit green. They may not be ripe enough to grow next season so I don’t usually keep them. You want to have clean ripe seed going into your envelopes for storage. Chaff left on can harbour tiny insects that may cause damage to the seed. I like using coin envelopes for storing seeds as they are easy to store. Store all your seeds in a cool dry place. I store my seeds in a photo and craft keeper which I bought online but they are available at Michaels. The photo boxes have 16 compartments for storing seeds. I labelled them and now I can just grab a case and take it to the garden.