Ask a Question forum: Seeds from Columbine

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Burnie1948
Jul 9, 2013 11:54 PM CST
Can you cut the seed stalks when it just starts to brown (but most pods still green) and expect that these seeds will eventually turn black and dislodge in a big paper sack?
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Jul 10, 2013 12:22 AM CST
I can't say for sure that they won't mature at all after cutting them off, but I never do that. Every seed saving site I've found advises letting them mature "on the vine" until the pod is good and brown and dry - as close to cracking open as practical.

Right now I have some fresh, immature Columbine vulgaris seeds trying to germinate on a wet coffee filter. I took the brownest pod, which seemed to have a gap starting to appear, "to see how far along the seeds were".

Naaah. The seeds were thin and light tan (immature), not plump, black and shiny (mature). So far, zero germination.

Would they have matured more, if I had left them in the pod for a few weeks? I didn't think so, but I don't really know. When Ia sked the same question a year or two ago on another website, the most enocuraging answer was "you could try it - but if you want mature seeds, let them mature on the plant".

I suppose the question is, how connected are the seeds to the plant's vascular system? Are they still getting nourishment and water, or is the plant just holding them up off the ground so they don't rot before the seed coat hardens?

My assumption is that a plant would scatter its seeds as soon as possible, to avoid giving birds a big, fat free lunch.

If you're afraid of the seeds popping out before you catch them, you can buy some "organza bags" from a craft store or a "wedding supply" isle. (Apparently at wedding receptions, some people give away party favors in gauzy bags with drawstrings.) The organdy gauze lets air through and the drawstring keeps the seeds from getting away.

(Or plop some paper plates under the plants to catch some of the falling seeds, and check it twice per day. Once a few seeds start showing up, tip as many seed heads as you can into a big paper bag and shake out as many loose seeds as you can. Repeat that daily, to catch as many mature seeds as you can.)

That said, I have uprooted aging snow pea plants and not bothered to collect the pods because the peas didn't seem fully mature. Thrown on the compost heap, some % still sprout.

I'll be watching with interest to see if anyone answers "I've done that and gotten X germination". Or "I saved a bunch of pods that had skinny brown seeds at first, that later became fat and black".
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
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Dutchlady1
Jul 10, 2013 3:51 AM CST
To catch seeds when they germinate I use pantyhose or those little mesh bags onions come in. No need to go buy bags!! Smiling
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
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fiwit
Jul 10, 2013 6:19 AM CST
Have you submitted that as a tip yet, Hetty?
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Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Jul 10, 2013 7:01 AM CST
LOL I didn't think of that but I will. Need to get a picture..... Smiling thanks for the suggestion.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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woofie
Jul 10, 2013 10:03 AM CST
Hmmm, I'd still have to go out and BUY pantyhose! Hilarious!

I think Rick is correct about it being best to leave the pods on the plant to mature. I've never seen anyone on any site suggest cutting them off while the pod is still green. And they produce so many seeds, you should have plenty even if you miss a few!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Jul 10, 2013 10:19 AM CST
I don't bother with bags for the columbine seed, I just tip them into a coffee cup when I can see that they are black and shiny, but before the pods burst open. I don't catch them all, but do get a good load. Most of my columbine seed ends up reverting to a common granny-bonnet type, I suppose because I am a sucker for the beautiful full-spurred hybrids.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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woofie
Jul 10, 2013 10:29 AM CST
I save the small (3 oz) paper cups that I buy for taking medicines (because I got tired of washing glasses!) and use them for collecting seeds. They're great because you can write on them and they stack! Columbines really are pretty easy to keep an eye on; you just have to catch them before the pods get too dry and split. I just went out and tipped a few seeds off my dwarf Columbine. Heh heh, thanks for the reminder. Smiling
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 10, 2013 11:25 AM CST
>> paper cups ... and use them for collecting seeds.
>> They're great because you can write on them and they stack!

(smacking forehead)

That's a huge advantage! Thank you. I think I'm going to try it your way.

I save envelopes from junk mail and bills for drying seeds, but they take up room, and they can flop over and spill if I'm not careful.

The easiest plant to collect seeds from that I ever saw was a pacific Giant Delphinium. It had saucer-like pods that held seeds forever. I just waited until it rattled when I brushed against it, then put a big cardboard box beside the plant. Then I tilted the spikes over until the mature, completely dry, completely clean seeds poured out.

(I don't have any photos of the dry spikes.)


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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Jul 10, 2013 12:02 PM CST
They also fit very nicely in this re-purposed Kleenex box. Smiling
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Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 10, 2013 12:17 PM CST
Cool! I cut up Ritz cracker boxes and mac-and-cheese boxes to make small holders ("trays") for various things.

Four cut-down pill bottles fit into a Ritz tray, and they hold four 2x3" Ziploks propped up with small funnels, so I can spoon seeds into them. (photo needed!)

When I run out of plastic trays, I use larger corrugated cardboard boxes lined with heavy garbage bags as trays for plants in 4" pots and Solo cups and yogurt quarts. They can take more weight than flimsy 1020 trays!

But you can't put them outside on damp ground or the4 cardboard turns to mush.

The cardboard trays are front-right and front-center. (Better photo needed. That's a mirror in the background.)



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Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Jul 10, 2013 12:29 PM CST
This thread is turning into a whole lot of great tips!
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Jul 10, 2013 3:23 PM CST
When my granddaughter was a baby some of the baby food came in small, clear plastic containers with a snap lid so I saved as many as I could grab and use them to collect seeds, writing on the outside. Later I transfer to handmade envelopes and reuse the baby food containers. When not in use they nest. And I have a brand new grandson so I'll be stocking up on them again!
Cup is for size comparison.
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 10, 2013 3:30 PM CST
I find that I can erase most magic markers from most plastics if I rub with alcohol and a napkin.

And if I can't erase the marker, I tape a piece of paper, card stock, or a flipped business card over it.
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
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abhege
Jul 10, 2013 3:31 PM CST
Mr. clean Magic Eraser works great too.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 10, 2013 3:34 PM CST
I wonder if that would take pencil marks completely off mini-blind slats?

Many thing remove MOST of the pencil lead, but I usually leave some smudges behind.

Now I find that the slats themselves get fragile after a few years, so I tend to throw them away now rather than re-use them.
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
Seed Starter Cut Flowers Composter Keeper of Poultry Keeps Goats Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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abhege
Jul 10, 2013 6:29 PM CST
It probably would work, it takes off magic marker from plastic plant tags with a little bit of elbow grease.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Jul 10, 2013 6:35 PM CST
I think this discussion may have wandered a bit far afield from the original question, although these are all good points. But if you haven't read Dave's note for this forum: "Keep in mind: your post may trigger an email to the original poster, so please keep on topic!"
Not sure how it works, but I hope we aren't inundating our poor new member with emails from this thread! Smiling
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.

Burnie1948
Jul 10, 2013 8:33 PM CST
Wow.... Great response! Thanks, as a new member, I'm impressed! Thanks so much--loved all the ideas!
Name: Marilyn
Northern KY (Zone 6a)
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Marilyn
Jul 10, 2013 8:53 PM CST
Hi Jude!

Welcome! to ATP! Welcome!
Welcome to the Agastache and Salvias Forum!

Hummingbirds are beautiful flying jewels in the garden!


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