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Saving Zinnia Seeds

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The waning days of summer have included some gorgeous late afternoons filled with enough sunshine to lure us outdoors.  The girls and I made a project of collecting seeds from our eye popping zinnia flowers.  These flowers are encouraging because they grow so prolifically, even though other things in our garden might struggle.
We tried to follow directions from Sow True Seed for seed saving.  Several flower heads were already dry, so we plucked them off with our hands.  We crushed them and watched as the tiny black seeds deposited onto our containers along with the much larger, light-colored pieces of husk or chaff.
Try as we could to “carefully winnow away the chaf” per the directions,  we didn’t really find the proper basket or winnowing technique.  I tried to show my oldest how to gently toss the chaf into the air, but I really wasn’t very good at it myself.  Mostly, we tilted our little plastic containers and watched the tiny seeds run down into a groove.  Then, we picked out most of the husk.  What looks like dirt in the photo below, is seeds.
Our casual zinnia garden is mostly bright pinks, with a few oranges and whites.  The flowers are mostly starts from a kind neighbor.  I also added a few new seeds into the same flower bed this year.  So I probably wouldn’t qualify to be an official seed saver, since I didn’t keep the colors separate.  I did try to store the dry seeds in envelopes according to color. Yet, one envelope is simply a mixture because the flowers were already too brown to tell exactly what they were.

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One Response to Saving Zinnia Seeds

  1. Mrs. J September 16, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    How wonderful! You’re teaching your girls some great skills. I wish I’d learned similar things as a kid. I’ve only saved seeds once–last year, from a mystery pepper. This year those plants were the most prolific pepper in my garden, and I think I will save them again this year!

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