Herb Garden Seed

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Herb Garden Seed

One of the best ways for gardeners to spend an autumn day is strolling through an herb garden that's setting seed. The plants send up a fragrant aroma as you brush against their branches, and flower petals cling to their last bit of summer color.

By collecting seed from your garden herbs, you can replant your herb garden next year, using materials you may already have on hand.

How Seeds Form

Before you start saving seed from your herb garden, it's a good idea to make sure you understand the basics of plant reproduction. Plants grow from seed. A newly sprouted seed has two leaves. Those leaves sprout new leaves, and they and their progeny keep sprouting more leaves until a plant is formed.

Underground, the seed sprouts downward into the soil, spreading under the surface of the earth to nourish and support the leaves above ground.

Like everything else in nature, the plant's strongest desire is to reproduce itself. Plants reproduce from seed; a plant's mission in life is to produce seed to guarantee the survival of its species. Plants produce seed by growing flowers, which are pollinated either by the wind or by bees. As the flower petals shrivel and dry up, the seed matures, and the wind shakes the seed off the plant and onto the ground where it germinates and sprouts two new leaves, and the process repeats itself.

How to Collect Herb Garden Seed

Presumably, you will be harvesting your herbs throughout the growing season and using their leaves and flowers for medicinal or culinary purposes. Midway through the season, designate several healthy, sturdy stems of a single plant as specimens for collecting herb garden seed.

Tie a colored ribbon around the branches to mark them, and stop harvesting leaves from those stems.

When the flowers are almost fully ripened, cut the stems at the base of the plant. Bind several stem ends together with a rubber band and hang the bundle upside down from a clothesline hung in a warm, dry room.

Place the hanging end of the bundle inside a paper lunch sack, and secure the bag around the bundle with string or a twist tie. After a few days, shake the stems, and fully ripe seeds will drop into the bag.

How to Save Seed

Once you have collected seeds for an herb garden, the seeds will remain viable for several years if they are stored in paper envelopes in a cool, dry place. Be sure to write the name of the herb on the outside of the envelope so you'll know what you are planting next spring.

Herb Garden Seed