Seed saving workshop

The seed-saving workshop given by Annette McFarlane at New Farm library yesterday was two hours well spent. It’s a fascinating subject once you get into the why’s and wherefores of plant reproduction and Annette makes it all so interesting.

She started the workshop by explaining how plants produce their seeds, how they pollinate, the best time to harvest and the best way to germinate. I found this part of the workshop fascinating as she explained the reproductive organs of the plants. Some veggies self pollinate, some pollen is spread by the wind, some need the birds and the bees (takes you back to the schoolroom).

And, did you know that the brassica family are promiscuous! It’s all happening at the bottom of your garden. Wonder why you can find purple cauliflowers on the supermarket shelves? Yes folks. That cauliflower has been generous with it’s favours and cross pollination has taken place. By this time I’m on the edge of my chair.

Time for a cup of tea.

We then spent the second hour washing wet seeds, winnowing dry seeds and getting the hands-on experience in the handling and storage of seeds.

At the end of the session Annette shared a wonderful collection of seeds, cuttings and plants and we all left with a real bounty. This was also an opportunity to take along seeds you had harvested from your own garden to share. My friend Wendy had given me some “Drunken Woman” lettuce seeds a year ago and I had had real success with them. I saved the best specimen  and allowed it to go to seed which gave me a seed-head with (what looked like) hundreds of seeds. I dried them off in the garage and took them along with me yesterday.

I took a few photographs of this lettuce in my allotment last year.

I think it looks even prettier when it’s going to seed. 

Thank you Annette. It was a lovely morning. And thank you Tatiana for organising this workshop.

These workshops are put on in Brisbane libraries by Brisbane City Council and they are free. Brilliant.

Incidentally, I did show my diseased silverbeet/chard leaf to Annette and she told me it was a fungal problem so I’ll be spraying the plants with a natural fungicide and giving them a good dousing of seaweed as a tonic. That will cheer them up.

Happy gardening.

Jerry Coleby-Williams

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