The Q&A Archives: Seeds From Plants

Question: I have collected seeds from perennials and annuals in my garden. Can I plant them in the ground now, or should I wait until spring? (It seems to me that when plants reseed themselves they drop their seeds in the fall.) I live in Western New York State.

Answer: The answer to your question depends to some extent on what you are growing. It is true that many perennials drop their seeds in the fall for germination the following spring and a number of these require a cooling period in order to germinate. These can certainly be planted now in a nursery bed. Other perennials will give better results by being planted next spring, simply because they need a warm soil to germinate and/or are slightly more fussy about the needed chilling requirements which you can provide using your refrigerator. Others, such as most annuals, can be planted in spring because they do not need this chilling period. You might want to look at a book or two about seed saving and germination requirements such as "The Seed Starter's Handbook" by Nancy Bubel, ISBN 0-87857-752-1 (pbk).

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