While not all gardeners may enjoy or participate in the fall ritual of harvesting and saving seeds, it is probably my favorite gardening activity. After actually starting plants from seeds for my garden, seed saving is the gardening activity that makes me feel most like a gardener. I'm amazed that a plant can grow from something that is sometimes the size of the period at the end of a sentence. When harvesting and saving seeds in my garden, visiting other gardens or just walking around my city; I often find a seed or seed pod I collect by placing in my pocket. Seed savers or seed snatchers, if you will, know to carry plastic and paper bags this time of year for the dangling seeds and seed pods that beckon to be collected and saved. Here's how I create pocket seed banks recycling tin mint containers.
So, what do these mint tins have to do with seed saving? One thing I learned a while back was that those paper and plastic bags we use to store the seeds we harvest aren't always as convenient as they seem. Sometimes they get left in your pockets and end up in the wash, or you throw them away with the other lint and debris that accumulates in your pockets at the end of the day. One day it dawned on me that these empty mint tins are the perfect solution to the aforementioned problem. I call pocket seed banks.
If you've ever harvested and saved cleome seeds you know those pods will readily break open, the tiny seeds spill and if you just placed the pod in your pocket, you now have tons of tiny seeds rolling around your pocket or purse. Inside one of these pocket seed banks the seeds are safe from spilling.
The seeds for lilies are easy to harvest and save, but if you've ever placed a lily seed pod in your pocket, backpack or purse you've probably broken the seeds pod. The papery seeds inside are fragile and can quickly turn to dust if you're not careful. In a pocket seed bank the seed pod & seeds are protected from being crushed.
Hollyhock seeds while papery aren't as fragile, but hollyhock seed savers know that each one of these seed pods could contain hollyhock weevils. The pocket seed banks are pretty tight and won't allow any weevils to escape into your pocket until you get home and can properly inspect them when you get home.
A pocket seed bank is also good for small seeds like those of poppy seeds.
A piece of tin is not the easiest thing to write on. I like to adhere a mailing label and write the name of the seeds or seed pod inside. The sticker peels off and allows you to reuse the tin over and over.
Here is a picture of some recent seed banks from an excursion into my garden and a walk around the neighborhood. Unlike paper or plastic seed envelopes there isn't much of a chance I'll forget I have a mint tin in my pocket. In the fall I usually carry at least one of these in my pocket at all times to bring back and seeds I come across.The seeds in the top-left are candy lily seeds and the seeds in the lower-right are peony seeds. After arriving home with my latest stash of saved seeds I set them out to dry on a paper towel or plate in a warm location for a few days. Make sure you set your seeds out to dry after harvesting them from the outdoors to prevent them from molding. After they're dried you can place your seeds back inside the tins for storage if you like. Pocket seed banks, they're a fun and creative way to recycle metal tins and turn them into useful seed saving and storage tools. Put one in your pocket, backpack or purse today.
See my post on How to Save Seeds. In it you'll find tips for the beginner gardener who would like to save seeds.
Seeds Saving Posts to date on this blog.
How to Save Seeds
How to Save Basil Seeds
How to Save Columbine Flower Seeds
How to Save Hollyhock seeds
How to Save Calendula/Pot Marigold seeds
How to Save Hosta seeds
How to Save Marigold flower seeds
How to Save Morning Glory seeds
How to Save Poppy seeds
How to Save Bells of Ireland seeds
How to Save Cleome seeds
How to Save Candy Lily seeds
How to Save Climbing Lily (Gloriosa) seeds
How to Save Purple Coneflower seeds
How to Save 4 O Clock seeds
How to Save Pineapply Lily seeds
How to Save Cypress Vine seeds
How to Save Nasturtium seeds
How to Save Black-Eyed Susan vine seeds
How to Save Tomato seeds
If you're looking for information on saving or starting seeds in the garden check out the seed snatcher search engine. It is the sister search engine of google for gardeners, and contains hundreds of pages on seed saving and starting information. The information ranges from easy to understand seed starting and saving techniques to more academic works on seeds.