Sadly, I can’t claim to be worrying much about late summer harvests – healthy big squashes or last-minute courgettes, tomatoes that aren’t quite ripe or peppers which needs a few days in the heat of the house. I had no luck starting my butternut squashes and courgettes, didn’t bother with tomatoes and my peppers didn’t exactly thrive. However, I do have quite a few plants which are going to seed – the most recent of which being a rather large sunflower. The oversized head on it was, I think, an accident. It was snapped half off in high winds but when I set it back edge-to-edge it continued to grow but put all of its energy into the flower. This gave me a dinner-plate-sized 8ft plant beside two 9-10ft ones with saucer-sized flowers!
However, because of a patch of rough weather I decided to chop it down a little early – when the back of the head was barely yellow – as all three sunflowers were tied together and I didn’t want the weight of the biggest to pull them all down. I kept it in a nice cool, dry spot but, unfortunately, it seems it wasn’t dry enough as, last week, I noticed a teeny bit of mould starting in one corner. Cue an afternoon of seed-collecting.
The rotten patch is easily visible at the bottom-right – the really pale spot.
The front pile is viable seeds, the middle is discards – hollow and overly small ones. I had a large number to throw out, but I expected that given the early harvest and picking. Still, I’ve been left with a decently chunky pile of seed for next year – though I have some spare if anyone wants a wee handful!
I’ve also been collecting: marigolds, lupins, viola, lilac, hybridized (I think) spanish bluebells two types of loose salad leaf, coriander, and dill. Seed saving was something I was definitely looking forward too – I’ve always been interested in genetics and inheritance and to know that some of next years crop may be grown from seed I saved the year before in a continuum of life which a shop-bought packet doesn’t give is rather warming.