At the start of the year - just into lockdown - I wrote a post about collecting seed. I thought now was about the right time to do an update as we have finished harvesting much of the summer produce. I think it would be fair to say that I have got seeds drying everywhere; the polytunnel, the spare bedroom, the airing cupboard and the dining room table. So, here is what I am up to.

First of all, the polytunnel. In here I have got my runner beans hanging over the crop bar at the end near the door where the prevailing winds blow in. The winds just recently are doing a fine job of drying the beans.  I HATE runner beans but I do like the seed inside and use it like borlotti beans or cannellini. I grew Czar which have a really tasty bean and they had a strange growing season. At first they didn't produce many beans and then after August they had a second growth spurt and produced many more beans.  Coming up to this spell of wet weather they hadn't had enough time to dry but I did read that seeds are best dried on the plant so I pulled up the whole tripods of plants and hung them up. They have been in there about 2 weeks and have dried remarkably quickly.

Upstairs in the spare bedroom I have got brown paper bags of seeds drying. These tend to be seed heads of herbs and flowers that were nearly ready and in order that they didn't seed everywhere, I cut them off and put them upside down in the bags. I even remembered to label the bags! Once they are dry, I take out the seed which should have fallen into the bag and pour it between two bowls so that the chaff blows away.  I have dill, coriander, phlomis ruselliana, parsley, honesty, marigolds and Rouge Grenoble lettuce. One thing I noticed is that some of my coriander self-seeded before I got to it and has grown and has big leaves with no sign of flowers. It is the first time that coriander I have grown hasn't bolted so autumn is definitely the time to grow it. It may survive through to the spring.

In the airing cupboard I have seeds from the couple of butternut squash we have eaten this year; Waltham.  I scraped them out, put them on kitchen towel and placed them in the airing cupboard to dry out.  They do have orange, stringy stuff attached to them which I am hoping to break off once they are dry. I also have tomato seeds drying in the same way - Green Zebra, Tigerella and Black Russian.  I scraped them out, washed them in a sieve and put them to dry on the kitchen towel again.

And then there is the seed that is still sitting in the garden because the plants are biennials.  At home I have Boltardy beetroot, chard and leeks.  The beetroot are enormous and as the name suggests didn't bolt even though they grew throughout a very dry season and were only watered twice. They are growing in my hugelkultur bed which has been fantastic and I will definitely make more of these.  We are eating some of the leeks but I will leave the ones that have no rust on them to produce seeds next year.

Finally, there is seed that I have been given by friends and fellow allotmenteers. There is Blue Lake climbing french beans from Peter and Coral, some unknown pea seeds were left in an envelope in my polytunnel and Black seeded Simpson (lettuce) from a colleague.

How has your seed saving gone?  Anyone want to swap some seed?

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