Collecting Summer Seeds

Glennie Kindred
Saturday, 3rd August 2013

Glennie Kindred explains how to collect and dry seeds ready to sow in the autumn in this time of summer bounty.

Seed heads are starting to form, fruit is beginning to swell, mornings can start misty, thick with dew, and there can be a nip of cold at night. But for all this it is still summer and this is a time of holidays, festivals, living outside, camping out and summer nights spent with friends around outdoor fires. The feel-good factor abounds especially when the sun shines, as we enter this last phase of summer with an awareness that it won't last forever and autumn is on its way.

This is the time of Lammas, a time of plenty, when in the ancient past the tribes would have travelled to great clan gatherings to meet up with friends and family. In our more recent past, communities would have celebrated the great gathering in of the grain harvest. We too feel the pull to get out and about while we still can, travel, walk the land, visit friends, gather at festivals and community events. 

It is a prime time for us to share ideas, our enthusiasm and passion for Earth awareness and living lightly on the Earth. We can each be a power-house of positive change in the world, inspiring ourselves and others to make the shift into a holistic life-view and work together for the common good and for the good of Earth.

Excerpt from Letting In the Wild EdgesOn the Edge of Autumn.

First Seeds

Cowslips, Cleavers, Corn Salad, Primroses, Salad Burnet, Violets, Winter Cress

The first seeds of the early spring plants are beginning to ripen now. Bend them gently over to encourage self-seeding where you want them to fall, or keep an eye on them and gather them when they are ready. Choose dry sunny days to gather any seeds that fall readily when shaken into dishes or brown paper bags. Spread them out on paper and sort through what you have picked, taking out the best ones and putting them in clean labeled brown paper bags to dry out some where warm and dry. Return the rest to the wild edges for birds and other creatures to find or maybe to grow.

Shake the seed bags frequently until you are satisfied they are properly dried and then transfer the seeds to old envelopes. Label them and add any growing tips you have learnt about the plants and store them in your seed box in a cool dry place. Leave some seeds on the plants to self-seed in their own wild way.

Growing Cowslips, Primroses and Violets

1. Collect the seeds August to September when they ripen and sow immediately so that winter dormancy doesn't set in.

2. Use a good quality seed compost in deep pots to avoid the compost drying out. Thoroughly soak and then sprinkle the seeds on the surface - the seeds need light to germinate.

3. Spray with water to soak the seeds and put the whole thing in a plastic bag and tie up. Germination happens about 4-6 weeks later.

4. When the first true seedlings appear, plant them out in multi purpose compost again, put the pots in partial shade and keep them well watered if necessary. Plant the young plants out in the spring. 

Further resources

EU Law Seed Update & why sow heritage seeds

A Review of Letting in the Wild Edges

Glennie Kindred's latest book, Sacred Earth Celebration is available for a special price of £7.46 from our Green Shopping site

Download a FREE eBook, A Guide to Seed Saving, Seed Stewardship & Seed Sovereignty By The Seed Ambassadors Project