August is a great time of year to think ahead, and look for seedheads that can collected and saved.
It’s the easiest and most natural way to grow more of your favourite plants for free. Excitingly, while the resulting new plant could look the same as the parent plant, it could also look strikingly different, taking various qualities from both parents.
The best time to collect seeds is on a dry day, after a spell of dry weather, and around mid-morning, once any dew has evaporated. Seedheads that dry, such as sweet peas or poppies, should rattle. Always place dry seeds into a paper envelope or bag. Avoid storing seeds in polythene bags, which trap moisture and encourage mould.
More on saving seeds:
Discover some of the easiest seeds to save in August, below.
Teasels (Dipsacus fullonum)
Harvest the spiny seedheads of teasels with great care in autumn. Hang upside down to fully dry, then sow the seeds in late spring.
Collect papery seed capsules from campions from August onwards. Sow in autumn or spring – find more information in this video with Monty Don, as he collects astrantia and campion seeds.
Poppies (Papaver somniferum)
Remove the whole pepper-pot seedhead once the holes in the top open, shake out the seeds into a paper bag and sow in autumn or spring. Discover how to collect and sow poppy seeds.
Beans (broad, borlotti and runner)
Leave a few pods to mature at the end of the season and pick once fully dry. Remove the beans and store for sowing indoors in spring.
Remove the seeds from the ripe fruit, sow straight away into a pot and place outdoors so it gets a period of cold. Watch this video on sowing hawthorn seed for more information.
Most seeds will store for a year or two. Ensure they’re thoroughly dry first before putting in paper envelopes. Freezing will preserve many seeds almost indefinitely, but again, they must be thoroughly dry first. If you have any doubt, chill rather than freeze them in a fridge or outdoor shed, in jars, paper bags or envelopes.