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March 29, 2009

Harvesting Garden Seeds

Why I love gardening: the unexpected discoveries awaiting you on a daily basis. At my house, there's a fence along the side of this property, separating it from a neighboring apartment complex. When I moved in, I tore off the dried/rotting bamboo covering the fence, intending to make a living, green covering over the chain link. I planted several varieties of Morning Glory and Moon Flower from seed along the fence line and carefully trained the baby sprouts to climb the fence. Though it didn't become the obfuscating carpet I was hoping for, they quickly took off, flowering profusely.


While I was home for Christmas, my landlord cut the water supply to the sprinkler line, and the whole fence went downhill from there. I concentrated on other projects, and am only now returning to gardening this spring.

I knew Morning Glories were prolific reseeders, but I figured this year's crop hadn't been given half a chance, so I dutifully bought ten new seed packs, and thought I'd be starting over.

I was out planting tomatoes in the garden bordered by this fence today, thinking what an ugly eyesore it had become, and wondering if I should tear off all the dead undergrowth before I replanted. Suddenly, I noticed--

Hundreds of tiny seed pods hanging off the vines!

There they were, just waiting for me to liberate them from their husks.

The pods virtually crumbled to the touch, dried and ready to spill their contents to the wind.

I picked a few pods at a time, letting the heavy seeds fall into the cracks of my fingers, separating the chaffe from the seed with gentle blowing. When I was done, I had a full bag of seed, more than the ten packs I'd just bought combined! I can't wait to see the beautiful fence this summer. I'd always been in awe of gardeners who offered their own seed in trade on sites like you grow girl.com. Now I have the confidence to pursue seed gathering of other flowers from my own garden.

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