Here’s a repost of a 2015 piece on collecting wildflower seeds in my home garden. Right now, I’m doing exactly what I did 8 years ago except that I have collected even more seeds. I’ll be spreading the chaff (nonseed plant material around the seeds) in the South Pasadena Nature Park this summer. We’ll sow seeds in the park next fall and winter. At $6 and up for a small packet of seeds, you’ll want to do this too.
So hope this helps others who are now confronted with the messy, post wildflower garden. But do remember that the messiness is just what the critters – birds, lizards, insects, and more – need. So don’t be too neat!
The wildflower season is over. Annuals appeared, plants bloomed, flowers went to seed, seeds were collected, and beds were cleaned up. This year, though, was my slowest yet with regard to harvesting seeds and cleaning up the beds. The first seeds germinated around December. The peak bloom occurred in March and April, though this year’s display was pretty unimpressive. Nevertheless, the pollinators were happy. Over the months, I collected seeds, and removed globe gilias, tansy phacelias, and elegant clarkia. This year I didn’t have that many poppies so I just left them in place to reseed.
My method is to use large brown paper bags (supermarket type) to collect flower heads. Eventually I get around to separating seed from chaff. I use kitchen strainers to separate big bits, then I carefully blow on the remaining piles of seed to rid it of much of the chaff. There is much sneezing involved.