Vegetable Planting and Seed Saving Instructions

Arugula (Eruca sativa) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors as soon as soil can be worked and danger of hard frost has passed. Plant seeds 1" apart and ¼" deep. Seeds will germinate in 5-7 days. Thin to 1-6" apart. For a continuous supply of arugula, sow every three weeks throughout the summer. Best grown in cooler weather. Plant in full sun or partial shade.

Seed Saving: Arugulas will cross-pollinate. Separate varieties by ¼ mile. Allow plants to bolt and form seed stalks. Seed heads may need to be protected from bird damage and rain when drying on the plants. Seeds are produced over a 2-3 week period and will require repeated harvesting.




Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors after danger of frost has passed and soil and air temperatures have warmed. Plant seeds 2" apart and 1" deep in rows 36-48" apart. Beans prefer full sun. Provide support for pole beans. Harvest snap beans frequently for increased yields. Shell beans should be picked when seeds are plump in the pods. For dry beans, leave pods on the vine and harvest when completely mature and dry.

Seed Saving: Bean flowers are self-pollinating and almost never cross-pollinate. As a precaution never plant two white seeded varieties side-by-side if you intend to save seed because crossing may occur but not be visible. It is always best to save seed from plants that ripen first and are free from disease. Harvest seed pods when completely dry, crush in a cloth or burlap sack, and winnow the seeds from the chaff.




Beet (Beta vulgaris) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors as soon as soil can be worked in spring. Plant seeds 2" apart and ½" deep in rows 20-24" apart. Seeds will germinate in 5-10 days. Thin to 4-6" apart. Can be planted at two-week intervals for continuous harvests. All parts of the beet plant are edible.

Seed Saving: Biennial. Beets will cross-pollinate. Varieties must be separated by ½ mile from other beets the second year when going to seed. Beets are fairly frost tolerant and will overwinter in mild climates if well mulched. In northern climates trim leaves to 2" and store roots in slightly damp sawdust or sand in a root cellar over the winter. Roots store 4-6 months at 32-40° F. Replant in the spring and harvest seed heads when dry.




Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors 6 weeks before last frost. Plant ¼" deep. Seeds will germinate in 3-10 days. Transplant outdoors 24" apart just before the last frost. Broccoli prefers full sun, cool temperatures, and a regular supply of water. In many regions it can be grown as both a spring and fall crop.

Seed Saving: Biennial. Broccoli will cross-pollinate with all other Brassica oleracea, so isolate by 1 mile the second year when going to seed. Do not harvest heads on plants you intend to save for seed. Carefully dig the plants and pot them in sand. Store plants between 32-40° F. Plant back out in early spring and allow to bolt. Harvest seed pods when dry and clean by hand.




Brussels Sprout (Brassica oleracea)Planting: Sow seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost. Plant ¼" deep. Seeds will germinate in 5-10 days. Transplant outdoors 24" apart just before the last frost. Brussels sprouts are a slow-growing long-season vegetable that requires a regular supply of water and full sun. The sprouts are most delicious after a frost or two.

Seed Saving: Biennial. Brussels Sprouts will cross-pollinate with all other Brassica oleracea, so isolate by 1 mile the second year when going to seed. Do not harvest heads on plants you intend to save for seed. Carefully dig the plants and pot them in sand. Store plants between 32-40° F. Plant back out in early spring and allow to bolt. Harvest seed pods when dry and clean by hand.




Cabbage (Brassica oleracea) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost. Plant ¼" deep. Seeds will germinate in 7-12 days. Transplant outdoors 24-36" apart just before the last frost. Cabbage needs a regular supply of water and full sun.

Seed Saving: Biennial. Cabbage will cross-pollinate with all other Brassica oleracea, so isolate by 1 mile the second year when going to seed. Do not harvest heads on plants you intend to save for seed. Carefully dig the plants and pot them in sand. Store plants between 32-40° F. Plant back out in early spring and allow to bolt. Harvest seed pods when dry and clean by hand.




Carrots (Daucus carota) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors 3-4 weeks before last spring frost or as soon as soil can be worked. Plant seeds ½" apart and ¼" deep in rows 16-24" apart. Tamp soil firmly; keep bed moist until emergence. Germination is slow and uneven, so be patient. Using spun polyester row covers may improve germination rates. Thin to 2-4" apart.

Seed Saving: Biennial. Carrots will cross-pollinate, so isolate ¼ mile from other carrots and Queen Anne’s Lace the second year when going to seed. Dig up carrots in the fall before a hard frost. Trim the tops to 1" and store roots in slightly damp sawdust, sand, or leaves in a root cellar over the winter. Replant in the spring and harvest seed heads when dry.




Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost. Plant ¼" deep. Seeds will germinate in 4-10 days. Transplant outdoors 24" apart just before the last frost. Cauliflower prefers full sun, cool temperatures, and a regular supply of water. Tying up heads to blanch is not necessary, but the practice prevents yellowing.

Seed Saving: Biennial. Cauliflower will cross-pollinate with all other Brassica oleracea, so isolate by 1 mile the second year when going to seed. Do not harvest heads on plants you intend to save for seed. Carefully dig the plants and pot them in sand. Store plants between 32-40° F. Plant back out in early spring and allow to bolt. Harvest seed pods when dry and clean by hand.




Corn (Zea mays) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors after danger of frost has passed. Plant seeds 4" apart and 1" deep in rows 36-48" apart. Seeds will germinate in 4-21 days. Thin to 8" apart. For good pollination and full ears, plant in blocks of 3-6 rows instead of one long row. Corn is a heavy feeder and does best in well-drained fertile soil with plenty of water and full sun.

Seed Saving: All corn varieties are wind-pollinated and will cross with each other. Varieties should be hand-pollinated or isolated by 1 mile to ensure purity. Allow ears to dry on the plants, harvest, and shell.




Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors in 12" diameter hills after the last frost when soil is warm. Space hills 6' apart in all directions. Plants seeds 1" deep with 6-8 seeds per hill; thin to 3-4 plants per hill. Can also be started indoors 2-4 weeks before the last frost. Cucumbers benefit from full sun and consistent moisture. Provide support for vines in order to save space.

Seed Saving: Cucumbers will cross-pollinate, so isolate ¼ mile from other cucumbers. Fruits for seed should ripen past edible stage and begin to soften and turn yellow. Cut lengthwise, scoop out seeds, wash, and dry. Seeds are dry when they break instead of bending.




Eggplant (Solanum melongena) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors 8 weeks before last frost. Plant ¼" deep. Seeds will germinate in 14 days. Transplant outdoors 18-24" apart once danger of frost has passed and soil is warm. Eggplants prefer full sun. Using landscape fabric or black plastic can accelerate growth and productivity in cooler climates.

Seed Saving: Eggplants will cross-pollinate, so isolate ¼ mile from other eggplants or plant in insect-proof cages covered with screen. Let the fruits grow far past maturity. Seeds are much easier to remove from overripe fruits. Most seeds are brown and are usually located in the bottom portion of the fruit.




Garden Huckleberry (Solanum melanocerasum)Planting: Sow seeds indoors 6 weeks before last frost. Plant ¼" deep. Seeds will germinate in 14 days. Thin seedlings when 2" tall and transplant into individual pots. Transplant outdoors 24" apart in rows 36" apart. Garden Huckleberries prefer full sun.

Seed Saving: Garden Huckleberries do not cross-pollinate. To save seed simply take ripe fruits and crush them in a bowl. Add water to the bowl and the seeds will sink and the skin and pulp will float. Separate the contents and wash the seeds in a strainer. Allow seeds to dry and store in a cool dry area.




Gourds (Lagenaria siceraria) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors after the danger of frost has passed in 12" diameter hills. Space hills 6' apart in all directions. Plant seeds 1" deep with 6-8 seeds per hill; thin to 3-4 plants per hill. Can also be started indoors 8 weeks before the last frost. Gourds prefer full sun and grow well on fences or garden trellises.

Seed Saving: Hard-shelled gourds will cross-pollinate, so isolate ¼ mile away from other Lagenaria siceraria or hand pollinate. When dry, the gourds can be broken or cut open and the seeds separated from the dry pulp. Both wet and dry gourd pulp can irritate skin and the respiratory tract. Use caution when cleaning seed.




Ground Cherry (Physalis pruinosa)Planting: Sow seeds indoors 6 weeks before last frost. Plant ¼" deep. Seeds will germinate in 14 days. Transplant outdoors 12-18" apart when the danger of frost has passed. Ground cherries prefer full sun. Excellent results at Heritage Farm when grown on landscape cloth, which suppresses weeds and makes collecting the fruits easier.

Seed Saving: Ground Cherries may cross-pollinate with other Physalis species so isolation or caging is recommended for seed purity. Select fully ripe fruits to save for seed. Pick at least one ripe fruit from each of several plants. Squeeze seeds and juice into a strainer and wash, spread on a paper plate, and dry.




Jelly Melon (Cucumis metuliferus) - Planting: Sow 6-8 seeds outdoors 1" deep in 12" diameter hills spaced 6' apart each way a week after the last frost when soil is warm. Pinch off all but 3-4 of the strongest seedlings. Can be started indoors in pots or flats 3-4 weeks before the last frost for an earlier harvest.

Seed Saving: Jelly Melon will not cross with cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) or melons (Cucumis melo). Fruits for seed should ripen past edible stage and begin to soften. Cut lengthwise, scoop out seeds, wash clean, and dry. Seeds are dry when they break instead of bend.




Kale (Brassica oleracea) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost. Plant ¼" deep. Seeds will germinate in 3-10 days. Transplant outdoors 24" apart just before the last frost. Prefers full sun. Kale is most tender and delicious after a frost. Harvest can continue even after snow.

Seed Saving: Biennial. Kale will cross-pollinate with all other Brassica oleracea, so isolate by 1 mile the second year when going to seed. Do not harvest heads on plants you intend to save for seed. Carefully dig the plants and pot them in sand. Store plants between 32-40° F. Plant back out in early spring and allow to bolt. Harvest seed pods when dry and clean by hand.




Leek (Allium ampeloprasum)Planting: Sow seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost. Plant ¼" deep and spaced 1" in all directions. Seeds will germinate in 5-7 days. Transplant outdoors 6" apart in rows 12-24" apart as soon as soil can be worked in spring. Hill or mound soil around stems several times to blanch as leeks grow.

Seed Saving: Biennial. Leeks cross-pollinate and should be isolated by 1 mile from other leeks going to seed. Select only the best specimens for seed. Leeks store for many months when stored at 32° F and 80-90% humidity. Plant out leeks in early spring and allow them to form seed heads. When the heads start to dry, cut off, dry further, and thresh.




Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors as soon as soil can be worked in spring. Plant seeds 1" apart and ¼" deep. Seeds will germinate in 7-14 days. Thin to 6-8" apart for Looseleaf, 10" apart for Romaine, and 10-12" apart for Crisphead. Sow continuously for a constant supply of lettuce. Lettuce is best grown in cooler weather and prefers full sun or partial shade.

Seed Saving: There is only a slight chance of cross-pollination between lettuces. As a precaution separate by 25' from other varieties that are going to seed. Allow plants to bolt and form seed stalks. Seed heads may need to be protected from bird damage and rain when drying. Seeds are produced over a 2-3 week period and will require repeated harvesting.




Lima Beans (Phaseolus lunatus) - Planting: Lima beans thrive in hot temperatures and full sun. Sow seeds outdoors after danger of frost has passed and soil and air temperatures have warmed. Plant seeds 2" apart and 1" deep in rows 36-48" apart. Seeds will germinate in 7-18 days.

Seed Saving: Lima beans will cross with other limas, but not common garden beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). To ensure absolute purity, isolate from other blooming varieties by 1 mile. It is always best to save seed from plants that ripen first and are free from disease. Harvest seed pods when completely dry, crush in a cloth or burlap sack, and winnow the seeds from the chaff.




Melons (Cucumis melo) - Planting: Melons love heat. Sow seeds outdoors in 12" diameter hills after danger of frost has passed and soil has warmed. Space hills 6' apart in all directions. Plant seeds 1" deep with 6-8 seeds per hill. Seeds will germinate in 4-10 days. Thin to 3-4 plants per hill. Can also be started indoors 2-3 weeks before the last frost.

Seed Saving: Melons will cross-pollinate, so isolate ¼ mile from other “melons” (cantaloupes, muskmelons, honeydew, snake melon, and Armenian cucumbers will all cross). Always save seeds from disease-free, early ripening melons. Wash seeds from ripe melons in a strainer and dry. Seeds are ready to store when they break instead of bend.




Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors after danger of frost has passed and soil has warmed. Plant seeds 2" apart and ½" deep; thin to 6-8" apart. Okra is tolerant of heat and drought, but not of cold. Keep well picked for higher yields.

Seed Saving: Okra's large decorative blossoms are cross-pollinated by insects very easily. Varieties can be kept pure by covering blossoms with cloth bags before they open, or you can isolate varieties by 1 mile from each other. Allow the okra pods to turn brown and dry on the plant. Harvest before seedpods split open enough to drop seeds onto ground.




Onion (Allium cepa) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting outdoors. Plant ¼" deep in flats and spaced 1" in all directions. Seeds will germinate in 4-10 days. Transplant outdoors 6" apart as soon as soil can be worked in spring. Keep onions well weeded with shallow cultivation.

Seed Saving: Biennial. Onions cross-pollinate and should be isolated by 1 mile from other onions going to seed. Select only the best bulbs for seed. Bulbs store 3-6 months at 32-45° F. Plant out bulbs in early spring and allow them to form seed heads. When the heads start to dry, cut off, dry further, and thresh.




Peas (Pisum sativum) - Planting: Peas thrive in cool weather. Sow seeds outdoors as soon as soil can be worked in spring. Plant seeds 2-3" apart and ½-1" deep in rows 24" apart. Seeds will germinate in 7-14 days. Double rows of peas can be planted on each side of a trellis.

Seed Saving: Peas should be separated by 50' to ensure pure seed. Select the healthiest plants for seed. Allow pods to dry on the plant before harvesting and separate seeds from pods by hand. If birds start eating the seeds before the pods are completely dry, they can be harvested slightly green and brought indoors to dry.




Peppers (Capsicum annuum/baccatum/frutescens) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors ¼" deep 8 weeks before last frost. Seeds will germinate in 14 days. Peppers germinate best in warm soil, so gentle bottom heat may be helpful until seedlings emerge. Transplant outdoors 12-24" apart when soil is warm. Peppers prefer full sun.

Pepper (Capsicum pubescens)Planting: Sow seeds indoors ¼" deep 8 weeks before last frost. Seeds will germinate in 14 days. Peppers germinate best in warm soil, so gentle bottom heat may be helpful until seedlings emerge. Transplant into a container and place on a porch or other shaded area.

Seed Saving: Peppers will cross-pollinate, so separate by at least 500' or plant in insect-proof cages covered with window screen. Select peppers that are ripe, fully colored, and show no signs of disease to save for seed. Remove seeds from core and place on a paper plate to dry.




Radish (Raphanus sativus) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors as soon as soil can be worked in spring. Plant seeds 1" apart and ½" deep in rows 12" apart; thin to 2-3" apart. Successive plantings can be made every 3-4 weeks throughout summer and fall to provide a continual harvest. Radishes prefer full sun.

Seed Saving: Radishes will cross-pollinate and must be isolated by ½ mile or planted in insect-proof cages covered with screen. Radish seed stalks will grow up to 3' tall. Always discard the early bolting plants, since they are not the best plants to save for seed. The seed stalk is harvested when the stalk and pods are dry. Seeds can then be separated by hand.




Runner Bean (Phaseolus coccineus) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors after danger of frost has passed and soil and air temperatures have warmed. Plant seeds 2" apart and 1" deep in rows 24-36" apart. Runner beans prefer full sun to partial shade. Provide support for the vines. Young pods can be eaten whole, or the beans can be eaten fresh or dried. Even the flowers are edible.

Seed Saving: Runner beans will cross-pollinate with other runner beans. Varieties must be separated by at least ½ mile to ensure pure seed. Another option for raising pure seed is to bag the blossoms before they open with a cloth bag. It is necessary to “trip” or shake the blossoms daily to release the pollen, imitating bee activity.




Soybean (Glycine max) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors after danger of frost has passed and soil and air temperatures have warmed. Plant seeds 2" apart and 1" deep in rows 36-48" apart. Soybeans prefer full sun. Use as edamame, fresh shell beans, or dry beans.

Seed Saving: Soybean flowers are self-pollinating and almost never cross-pollinate. To ensure absolute purity, separate by the length of the garden from other soybeans. It is always best to save seed from plants that ripen first and are free from disease. Harvest seed pods when completely dry, crush in a cloth or burlap sack, and winnow the seeds from the chaff.




Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) - Planting: Spinach grows best in cool weather and should be planted in early spring or late summer to produce a fall crop. Plant seeds 1" apart and ½" deep. Seeds will germinate in 7-14 days. Thin to 6-8" apart. For best yields, harvest continually and make successive plantings every ten days.

Seed Saving: Spinach will cross-pollinate with wind-blown pollen from other spinach varieties. Commercial seed crops are separated by 5-10 miles to ensure purity, but home gardeners can reduce that distance. Harvest seeds when they are completely dry on the plant. It may be necessary to wear leather gloves because the seeds can be very prickly.

New Zealand Spinach (Tetragonia expansa)Planting: Sow seeds outdoors once danger of frost has passed. Plant seeds ¼" deep and 6" apart. Do not plant before air temperatures are consistently between 70-80˚F. Soak seed for 24 hours before planting to speed germination. Seeds will germinate in 14-21 days. For best yields, harvest continually. New Zealand Spinach prefers full sun.

Seed Saving: New Zealand Spinach seeds ripen progressively along the length of the vine. Its hard fruits each contain several seeds capsules and change from green to brown at full maturity. The mature fruits often fall off the plant and are difficult to see on the ground. Full-sized green fruits can also be picked and allowed to dry until brown. Although picking the individual seedpods off of the vine is time-consuming, no further treatment of the seeds is necessary.

Red Malabar Spinach (Basella rubra) – Planting: Sow seeds ½" deep indoors 5-6 weeks before the last frost or outdoors once the danger of frost has passed. Plants should be spaced 6" apart. Do not plant before air temperatures are consistently between 70-80˚F. For best yields, harvest continually. Provide support for vines. Red Malabar Spinach prefers full sun to partial shade.

Seed Saving: Malabar Spinach will not cross-pollinate with garden spinach (Spinacia oleracea). If two distinct strains of Basella rubra are being grown, isolate by ¼ mile or cage to ensure purity. The purple-black fruits must be picked individually; be sure to pick fruits from as many plants as possible. Place the fruits in a metal strainer that is partially submerged in a bowl of soapy water. When rubbed against the sides of the strainer the fruits disintegrate, exposing the seeds. Rinse the seeds in clear water and dry the bottom of the strainer on a towel to remove as much water as possible. Place the seeds on a glass plate to dry.

Strawberry Spinach (Chenopodium capitatum) – Planting: Sow seeds outdoors as soon as the soil can be worked in early spring. Plant seeds 1" apart and 1/8" deep in rows 20-24" apart. Thin to 4-6" apart. Strawberry Spinach prefers full sun to partial shade.

Seed Saving: Strawberry Spinach will not cross-pollinate with garden spinach (Spinacia oleracea). Strawberry Spinach is primarily wind-pollinated. Different varieties, if grown in close proximity, would likely cross-pollinate. Mature seeds can be saved from fruits which are bright red or orange in color. The tiny soft fruits are easy to crush with either fingers or the back of a spoon. The addition of a small amount of water will cause the pieces of the fruit to float and the seeds to sink. Pour off the water and pulp, drain the seeds and set out to dry. Care must be taken to ensure that the extremely small seeds do not pass through kitchen strainers.




Squash (Cucurbita argyrosperma/maxima/ficifolia/moschata/pepo) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors in 12" diameter hills after danger of frost has passed and soil has warmed. Hills should be spaced 6' apart in all directions. Plant seeds 1" deep with 6-8 seeds per hill; thin to 3-4 plants per hill. Can also be started indoors 3 weeks before transplanting outdoors. Squash prefers full sun.

Seed Saving: Squash within the same species will cross-pollinate, so isolate species by ¼ mile. Seeds should be taken from fruits that have gone past maturity by 3 weeks. Remove seeds, wash, and let dry. (Note: There are five species of squash: C. argyrosperma, C. maxima, C. ficifolia, C. moschata and C. pepo. This allows you to grow five different species of squash and save pure seed in the same garden).




Sunberry (Solanum burbankii) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors 6 weeks before last frost. Plant ¼" deep. Seeds will germinate in 15-21 days. Transplant outdoors 24" apart in rows 36" apart. Sunberries tolerate a wide variety of climates and conditions, but do not tolerate frost. Plant in full sun. Plants are self-supporting, but sprawl over a large area. Cage or trellis when space is limited.

Seed Saving: Take ripe fruits and crush them in a bowl. Add water to the bowl and the seeds will sink and the skin and pulp will float. Separate the contents and wash the seeds in a strainer. Allow seeds to dry.




Swiss Chard (Beta vulgaris) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors in early spring when soil temperature is at least 50˚F. Plant seeds 4" apart and ½" deep in rows 20-24" apart; thin to 12" apart. Can also be started indoors 5-6 weeks before transplanting out. Prefers full sun but tolerates partial shade. Swiss chard withstands light frost.

Seed Saving: Biennial. Varieties must be separated by ½ mile from all other Beta vulgaris when going to seed. Will overwinter in mild climates if well mulched. In northern climates trim leaves to 2" and store roots in sawdust or sand in a root cellar. Roots will store 4-6 months at 32-40° F. Replant in the spring and harvest seed heads when dry.




Tomatillo (Physalis ixocarpa) - Planting: Sow indoors ¼" deep in pots or flats 6 weeks before the last frost. Thin seedlings when 2" tall and transplant into individual pots. Plant outdoors 24" apart in rows 36" apart. Culture is very similar to tomatoes. Plants can be trellised to keep well contained and the fruits off of the dirt, or the plants can be allowed to sprawl on the ground.

Seed Saving: Tomatillos will not cross-pollinate. Select fully ripe fruits to save for seed. Pick at least one ripe fruit from each of several plants. Squeeze seeds and juice into a strainer and wash, spread on a paper plate, and dry.




Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum/pimpinellifolium) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors 6 weeks before last frost. Plant ¼" deep. Seeds will germinate in 7-14 days. Transplant outdoors 24-48" apart when soil has warmed. Support indeterminate plants with a cage or trellis. Tomatoes prefer full sun.

Seed Saving: Cross-pollination between modern tomato varieties seldom occurs, except in potato leaf varieties which should be separated by the length of the garden. Do not save seeds from double fruits or from the first fruits of large-fruited varieties. Pick at least one ripe fruit from each of several plants. Squeeze seeds and juice into a strainer and wash, spread on a paper plate, and dry.




Turnip (Brassica rapa)Planting: Sow seeds outdoors as soon as soil can be prepared in spring. Plant seeds ¼-½" deep and 2" apart in rows 24" apart. Seeds will germinate in 7-14 days. Thin to 4-6" apart. Sow every 2 weeks for continuous harvest. Quality and flavor are best if harvested when weather is cool. Turnips prefer full sun to partial shade.

Seed Saving: Biennial. Varieties must be separated by ½ mile from all other Brassica rapa when going to seed. Will overwinter in mild climates if well mulched. In northern climates trim leaves to 2" and store roots in sawdust or sand in a root cellar. Roots will store 2-4 months at 32-40° F and 90-95% humidity. Replant in the spring and harvest seed heads when dry.




Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) - Planting: Watermelons love heat. Sow seeds outdoors in 12" diameter hills after danger of frost has passed and soil has warmed. Space hills 8' apart in all directions. Plant seeds ½" deep with 6-8 seeds per hill. Seeds will germinate in 4-10 days. Thin to 3-4 plants per hill. Can also be started indoors 4 weeks before transplanting outdoors.

Seed Saving: Watermelons will cross-pollinate. Separate varieties by ¼ mile or hand-pollinate. Always select disease-free early maturing melons to save for seed. Remove seeds from ripe melons, thoroughly wash in a strainer, and dry.




Herbs, Flowers, and Sunflowers by Latin Names

Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors on the surface of the soil 8-10 weeks before last frost. Seeds will germinate in 10-20 days. Transplant outdoors 12-24" apart when a light frost is still possible. Yarrow prefers poor dry soil and full sun.




Agastache foeniculum (Lavender Hyssop) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors just beneath surface of soil 6-8 weeks before planting out. Seeds will germinate in 30-90 days. Transplant outdoors 12" apart after danger of frost has passed. Seeds can also be directly sown outdoors as soon as soil can be worked in spring. Lavender Hyssop prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade.

Seed Saving: Collect the seeds after seed heads turn brown and can be easily crushed by hand. Carefully clip seed heads with pruning shears to prevent seed loss due to shattering. When dry, seeds should fall readily from the heads.




Althaea rosea (Hollyhock) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors just beneath the surface of the soil one week before last frost. Seeds will germinate in 10-14 days. Transplant outdoors 18-36" apart with enough space to allow airflow. Hollyhocks prefer rich moist soil and full sun to partial shade. Stake tall plants.

Seed Saving: Harvest seed heads once they have turned brown. Wear gloves and long sleeves since hollyhock plants and seeds slough off tiny hairs that are irritating to the skin. Gently rub the seed heads between your hands and winnow off the chaff.




Allium schoenoprasum/tuberosum (Chives, Garlic Chives) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors ¼" deep 4-6 weeks before last frost. Seeds will germinate in 7-14 days. Transplant outdoors 4-8" apart as soon as soil can be worked in spring. Chives are also easy to direct seed. Established plants can easily be divided in both spring and fall. Remove spent blossoms regularly to prolong blooming. Chives prefer full sun to partial shade.

Seed Saving: Chives are a perennial that produces seed each season. Chives will not cross with any other Alliums. The blossoms are insect pollinated and then go on to form seed heads. When the heads start to dry, cut off, dry further, and thresh.




Amaranthus caudatus/cruentus (Amaranth) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors just beneath the surface of the soil before last frost. Seeds will germinate in 10-14 days. Transplant outdoors 9-18" apart after the danger of frost has passed in late spring. Can also be directly sown outdoors after the danger of frost has passed. Amaranth prefers full sun to partial shade and tolerates almost any type of soil. Good cut flower, fresh or dried. May require staking.

Seed Saving: The hundreds of small sand-like seeds are contained in the rope-like trusses. When the trusses start to dry, pick and dry further in a well protected area.




Andropogon gerardii (Big Bluestem) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors in a warm area (70-85˚F) in late winter or spring. Seeds will germinate in 14-20 days. Transplant outdoors 24" apart after danger of frost has passed. Seeds can also be directly sown into a weed-free seedbed in late April-June. Will thrive in everything from good loam to clay soil. Tolerates most moisture levels and withstands drought. Big Bluestem prefers full or nearly full sun.

Seed Saving: Collect the seeds in fall when they are dry to the touch, usually in mid to late September. Seeds should shatter easily when ripe. When completely dry, thresh seeds from heads.




Anethum graveolens (Dill) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors 1/8" deep in early spring when ground has warmed. Seeds will germinate in 6-21 days; germination is erratic, so please be patient. Thin to 8-12" apart. Dill prefers rich well-drained soil, a sheltered location out of the wind, and full sun. Will readily volunteer each year from dropped seeds.

Seed Saving: Dill heads ripen unevenly and shatter easily. Individual umbels (flower heads) are harvested as they mature. Rub the umbels gently to free the seed. Any small stem pieces or other debris can be winnowed or screened. Dill seeds do not need any further treatment.




Anthemis tinctoria (Golden Marguerite "Kelway’s") - Planting: Sow seeds indoors just beneath surface of soil 8-10 weeks before last frost. Seeds will germinate in 8-14 days. Transplant outdoors 12-18" apart after danger of frost has passed in late spring. Can also be directly sown outdoors just before last spring frost. Golden Marguerite prefers full sun and average well-drained soil; will tolerate dry conditions.




Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragons) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors on the surface of the soil 8 weeks before last frost. For best results sow in vermiculite, and water from below. Seeds will germinate in 10-20 days. Transplant outdoors 6-12" apart after last frost. Snapdragons prefer rich soil and full sun to partial shade. Good cutting flower. May require staking.




Artemisia absinthia (Wormwood) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors on surface of soil 6-8 weeks before last frost. Seeds will germinate in 7-10 days. Transplant outdoors 24-36" apart after danger of frost has passed in late spring. Can also be directly sown outdoors two weeks after the last spring frost. Wormwood prefers rich, moist, well-drained soil and full sun.




Asclepias incarnata (Red Milkweed) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before planting out. Plant seeds ¼" deep in flats, moisten soil, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for 10 days. Thereafter, provide light and 50-75˚F. This moist stratification is not absolutely necessary, but will help to increase germination. Seeds should germinate in 10-15 days. Transplant outdoors 12-24" apart once danger of frost has passed. Red Milkweed prefers full sun.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before planting out. Plant seeds just beneath surface of soil in pots. Germination will occur with no treatment but benefits from cold stratification. Place pots in plastic bags and refrigerate for three weeks. Remove plastic and provide light and 50-75˚F thereafter. Seeds should germinate within10-40 days. Transplant outdoors 12-24" apart when light frost is still possible. Butterflyweed prefers full sun to partial shade.

Seed Saving: Seeds are ready to harvest when the blooms begin to turn brown and dry. When the heads are completely dry, gently crush them between your hands and then carefully winnow away the chaff.




Aster novae-angliae (New England Aster) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors just beneath surface of soil in a flat in early spring. Enclose flat with plastic and refrigerate for 2 weeks. Remove plastic wrap and place in warm lighted area. Seeds will germinate in 14-35 days; please be patient. Transplant outdoors 24" apart once the danger of frost has passed. May need staking in a garden border. Pinch back until late summer to prevent plant from falling over when heavily laden with blossoms. New England Aster prefers full sun and average soil.

Seed Saving: Seeds are ready to harvest when the blooms begin to turn brown and dry. The seeds are contained in the very center. When the heads are completely dry, gently crush them between your hands and then carefully winnow away the chaff.




Borago officinalis (Borage) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors 1/8" deep after the danger of frost has passed. Seeds will germinate in 7-14 days. Thin to 12" apart. Can also be started indoors 3-4 weeks before last frost. Borage prefers ordinary well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade.

Seed Saving: Borage is very easy to save seed from. Just keep a close eye on the blooms, and when they begin to fade and turn brown, pick the seeds. Be sure to get them before they fall as Borage is very good at seeding itself for the next season, even without your help.




Calendula officinalis (Calendula) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors ¼" deep after the last frost. Seeds will germinate in 5-15 days. Thin to 12-18" apart. Can also be started indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost. Calendula prefers light well-drained soil and will tolerate dry conditions. Good cut flower. Thrives in full sun but will tolerate light shade in warmer areas. Calendula petals are edible and have a tangy slightly sweet flavor.

Seed Saving: Calendula is very easy to save seed from. Just keep a close eye on the blooms, and when they begin to fade and turn brown, pick the seeds. Be sure to get them before they fall as Calendula is very good at seeding itself for the next season, even without your help.




Celosia cristata (Amish Cockscomb) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors just beneath the surface of the soil 6-8 weeks before last frost. Seeds will germinate in 7-10 days. Transplant outdoors 12-18" apart after the danger of frost has passed. Good cutting flower, fresh or dried. Celosia prefers average well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade.

Seed Saving: When the blooms dry out cut them off and hang upside down in bunches. The seeds are contained in the heads between the velvety flowers. Once the heads are dry and crisp, they can be lightly hand-crushed, and the seed winnowed from the chaff.




Centaurea cyanus (Bachelor's Buttons) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors 1/8" deep early in spring when the soil is cool and light frost is still possible. Seeds will germinate in 7-15 days. Thin to 6-12" apart. Can also be sown in the fall just before the ground freezes. Plants will tolerate poor soil. Good cutting flower. Remove spent blossoms frequently to prolong blooming. Bachelor’s Buttons prefer full sun.




Cleome hassleriana (Cleome, Spider Flower) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors just beneath the surface of the soil after the danger of frost has passed. Thin to 18-24" apart. Seeds will germinate in 10-14 days. Spider Flowers prefer rich soil and are tolerant of dry conditions. To avoid self-seeding, cut off flower heads before seeds open. May require staking.

Seed Saving: Spider Flowers reliably produce lots of seed. When the spider-like blooms dry cut them off and hang upside down in bunches. Once the seed heads are dry and crisp they can be lightly hand-crushed and winnowed from the seed chaff.




Cobaea scandens (Cup and Saucer Vine) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors just beneath the surface of the soil 6-8 weeks before the last frost. Nick seed with sharp knife before sowing. Seeds will germinate in 10-25 days if the temperature is kept at 70˚F. Transplant outdoors 24-36" apart 2-3 weeks after the last frost. Cup and Saucer Vine tolerates dry soil and prefers full sun.

Seed Saving: Seeds are ready to harvest after the bell-shaped flowers turn into seed capsules. Once the seeds capsules are completely dry and brown they can be lightly hand-crushed and the seed winnowed from the chaff.




Coleus blumei (Coleus) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors on the surface of the soil 8-12 weeks before last frost. Seeds will germinate in 10-12 days. Transplant outdoors 12-20" apart after danger of frost has passed and the temperatures remain above 45˚F. Can be directly sown in zones 9-10. Coleus prefers humid conditions and full sun to partial shade.




Convolvulus tricolor (Ensign Mixture) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors after the last frost. Plant seeds ½" deep and 4-6" apart. Keep moist while germinating. Seeds can be slightly chipped and soaked in warm water for 24 hours before planting for better results. Seeds will germinate in 5-21 days. Convolvulus prefers moist average soil and full sun. Needs adequate support to climb.




Coriandrum sativum (Cilantro) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors ½" deep after last frost. Seeds will germinate in 10 days. Thin to 8-10" apart. May also be grown as a fall crop. Cilantro prefers rich well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. Has a tendency to self-seed.

Seed Saving: Cilantro will cross-pollinate with other varieties of cilantro so varieties must be separated by ½ mile while flowering. Seeds can be harvested when they are dry on the plant.




Cosmos sulphureus/bipinnatus (Cosmos) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors ½" deep after the last frost. Thin to 18-36" apart. Cosmos prefer poor soil and full sun. They will thrive with very little attention and do not need a lot of water. Good cut flower. Remove spent blossoms regularly to prolong blooming. May require staking.




Coix lacryma-jobi (Job's Tears) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors ½" deep and 6" apart early in spring after the danger of frost has passed. To improve germination, pre-soak seeds in warm water for 2 hours before sowing. Seeds may take 2-3 weeks to germinate, so be patient.

Seed Saving: It is very easy to save Job’s Tears seed. Just keep a close eye on the seeds and when they begin to turn dark grey. Will fall off when touched, pick the seeds, then allow to dry further in a well protected area.




Dalea purpurea (Purple Prairie Clover) - Planting: Plant seed indoors in early spring, and transplant outdoors no later than August 1 to ensure good root development. Easy to grow when direct seeded into a weed-free seedbed in mid-spring to early summer. Requires a well-drained soil.

Seed Saving: Harvest seed in late summer or early fall when seed pods turn grey and become dry and crumbly to the touch. Seedheads should strip off readily when ripe. Sift out chaff with a screen and blow off remaining material.




Dianthus barbutus - Planting: Follow instructions for Dianthus chinesis Dianthus chinensis- Planting: Sow seeds just beneath the surface of the soil, indoors 8-10 weeks before last frost. Seeds will germinate in 5-20 days if the temperature is kept between 60-70° F. Transplant after last frost in full sun. Plants thrive in rich moist well-drained soil.




Digitalis purpurea (Giant Spotted Foxglove) - Planting: Sow indoors just beneath the surface of the soil 8-10 weeks before planting out. Seeds will germinate in 14-21 days. Transplant 2-3 weeks before the last frost. Prefers full sun to partial shade and rich, moist, cool soil.

Seed Saving: Very easy for seed savers. When the blooms fade, a seedpod is formed, turning from green to brown. Once the seedpod turns brown, cut off and allow to completely dry before cracking open and removing the hundreds of small sand-like seeds.




Dolichos lablab (Hyacinth Bean) - Planting: Sow indoors in pots just beneath the surface of the soil 4-6 weeks before last frost. Seeds will germinate in 15-20 days. Transplant after the danger of frost. Can be direct-seeded after the danger of frost has passed in warmer areas. Prefers full sun and rich, moist soil.

Seed Saving: Hyacinth beans are self-pollinating and almost never cross-pollinate. To ensure absolute purity, separate varieties by 50'. Harvest seed pods when completely dry and hand separate.




Echinacea purpurea (Coneflower) - Planting: Sow outdoors ½" deep when a light frost is still possible. Seeds will germinate in 10-20 days. Coneflower prefers full sun to light shade and well-drained average soil. Tolerates heat and drought. Flowers reliably the first year from seed if sown early. Perennial.

Seed Saving: Coneflowers will produce lots of seed but you must beat the birds. When the blooms dry out, cut them off and hang upside down in bunches. The seeds are contained in the heads between the spikes. Once the heads are dry and crisp, they can be lightly hand-crushed, with gloves on for protection, and the seed winnowed from the chaff.




Echinops ritro (Platinum Blue) - Planting: Sow indoors just beneath the surface of the soil 4-5 weeks before the last frost. Seeds will germinate in 5-15 days. Plant outdoors when the danger of frost has passed 24-36" apart. Prefers full sun to partial shade.

Seed Saving: When the blooms dry out, cut them off and hang upside down in bunches. The seeds are contained in the heads between the spikes. Once the heads are dry and crisp, they can be lightly hand-crushed, with gloves on for protection, and the seed winnowed from the chaff.




Eschscholzia californica (California Poppy Mixture) - Planting: Direct seeding is preferable, as poppies do not like to have their roots disturbed. Sow in the early spring when the soil is still cool and light frost is possible. Can also be sown in the fall just before the ground freezes. Seeds will germinate in 10-15 days. Plants prefer full sun and will tolerate poor soil.

Seed Saving: Extremely easy for seed savers. When the blooms fade, a long narrow seedpod is formed, turning from green to brown. Once the seedpod turns brown, simple cut off and allow to completely dry before cracking open and removing the hundreds of small sand-like seeds. Store seeds in a cool dry area.




Helianthus annuus & cucumerifolius (Sunflowers) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors ½" deep and 6" apart in rows 24-36" apart after the last frost. Successive plantings will provide continual blooms throughout the summer. Seeds germinate in 10-14 days. Prefers full sun to light shade and well-drained rich soil.

Saving Seed: Sunflowers will cross-pollinate and must be separated by ½ mile to ensure pure seed. Harvest the heads when they have completely filled out, lost all of their petals and the backs begin to turn brown. It may be necessary to cover heads to protect them from birds. Allow to dry in a protected area away from birds and then shell by hand.




Helianthus mollis (Downy Sunflower) - Planting: Germination is increased by a 30-day cold treatment in slightly damp paper towels in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, but this is not mandatory for good germination. Plant seed indoors in early spring. Seed can be directly sown into a prepared seedbed in fall, or in early to mid-spring. Requires a well-drained sandy or loamy soil in full sun.

Seed Saving: Collect seeds when petals have fallen off and the seedheads are brown and dry. Extract seeds by rubbing through a ¼" screen. Collect seed in a box and carefully blow off chaff with a fan.

Heliopsis helianthoides (Ox Eye Sunflower) - Planting: Plant seed indoors in late winter or early spring. Germinates readily when sown into a weed-free seedbed in fall, spring, or early summer. Prefers a moderately rich loam, clay or slightly damp sandy soil. Requires full sun for good results. Will tolerate very light shade.

Seed Saving: Harvest seeds in late summer after petals have fallen off and seedheads are dry and black. Mature seeds are hard and black. Rub seedheads over 3/16" screen. Collect seeds in a box and blow off chaff gently with a fan.




Helichrysum subulifolium - Planting: Sow indoors on surface of soil 6-8 weeks before last frost. Direct seed only in areas where summers are very long. Seeds will germinate in 5-20 days. Prefers full sun and average soil.

Hesperis matronalis - Planting: Sow indoors on surface 8-10 weeks before planting out. Seeds will germinate in 20-25 days Prefers full sun or partial shade and rich, moist soil.

Lupinus perennis (Lupine) - Planting: Germination is greatly increased by a 7 day cold treatment in a slightly damp paper towel in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Cold-treated seeds can be directly sown in spring or early summer. Untreated seeds can be sown outdoors in fall.

Seed Saving: When seed pods begin to turn yellow and the seeds loosely rattle inside when shaken, they are ripe. Pick and finish drying in a well protected area.




Impatiens balsamina - Planting: Sow indoors 8-10 weeks before last frost on the surface of the soil. Seeds w ill germinate in 7-25 days. Water from below to avoid damping-off Prefers partial shade to full sun and rich moist soil.




Ipomoea purpurea - Planting: Sow outdoors 1/4" deep after last frost. Keep moist while germinating 5-21 days. Can slightly chip and soak seeds in warm water for 24 hours before planting for better results. Prefers full sun and moist average soil. Needs adequate support to climb.




Lathyrus latifolius (Everlasting or Perennial Sweet Pea) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors ½" deep and 3" apart. Thin to one plant every 6-12". Seeds will germinate in 10-20 days. Plants will require support and prefer full sun. Double rows work well on both sides of a trellis. Plants continue to bloom if old blossoms are continually picked. Sweetpeas are poisonous!

Seed Saving: Sweet peas should be separated by 25' to ensure absolute purity. Wait for the pods to dry before picking. Seed pods will burst, so picking in a timely manner is critical.




Lathyrus sativus (Azureus Sweet Pea) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors ½" deep and 3" apart after the danger of frost has passed. Thin to one plant every 6-12". Seeds will germinate in 10-20 days. Plants will require support and prefer full sun. Double rows work well on both sides of a trellis. Sweetpeas are poisonous!

Seed Saving: Sweet peas should be separated by 25' to ensure absolute purity. Wait for the pods to dry before picking. Seed pods will burst, so picking in a timely manner is critical.




Liatris pycnostachya (Prairie Blazingstar) - Planting: Germination is increased by a 30-day cold treatment in slightly damp paper towels in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Plant seed indoors in the early spring. Seed can be directly sown into a prepared seedbed in fall, or in early to mid-spring. Requires a rich loam, clay or slightly moist sandy soil in full sun.

Seed Saving: Harvest seeds when seedheads have fluffed out at least half way down the stalk. Cut entire seed stalk carefully to prevent seed shattering. Dry until seeds can easily be separated from the fluff.




Malope trifida - Planting: Sow outdoors 2-3 weeks before last frost just beneath the surface of the soil. Seeds will germinate in 15-30 days. Prefers sun or light shade and light well-drained soil.

Malva sylvestris - Planting: Sow outdoors just beneath the surface of the soil 1 week before last frost. Seeds germinate in 10-14 days. Space plants 18” to 36” apart. Prefers full sun to partial shade and rich moist soil.

Matihiola bicornis - Planting: Sow outdoors just beneath the surface of the soil after last frost or indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost. Seeds germinate in 3-20 days. Prefers full sun and moist well-drained fertile soil.

Mentha viridis (Spearmint) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors just beneath the surface of the soil 4-6 weeks before last frost. Can be directly sown outdoors just before the last spring frost. Seeds will germinate in 7-10 days. Plant out into full or partial shade, after the danger of frost has passed in late spring. Prefers average, well-drained soil and will tolerate dry conditions.

Seed Saving: Seeds are ready to harvest when the blooms begin to turn brown and dry. When the heads are completely dry, gently crush the heads between your hands and then carefully winnow away the chaff from the seeds.




Mirabilis jalapa (Four O'Clocks) - Planting: Sow indoors just beneath the surface of the soil 4-6 weeks before the last frost. Seeds will germinate in 5-18 days if the temperature is kept at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Can also be direct-seeded after last frost. Prefers full sun to partial shade, and average soil.

Seed Saving: Four O’Clock seed is very easy to save. Just keep a close eye on the blooms and when they begin to fade and turn brown, pick the seeds that have formed. Be sure to collect before the seeds fall to the ground. The dark Four O’Clocks seeds blend in with the soil, making them hard to see.




Moluccella laevis - Planting: Sow indoors just beneath the surface of the soil 8-10 weeks before last frost. Transplant when a light frost is still possible. Seeds will germinate in 8-25 days. Prefers average soil and sun to partial shade.

Myostosis alpestris - Planting: Sow indoors just beneath the surface of the soil 8-10 weeks before last frost. Seeds germinate in 8-30 days. Water only from beneath. Transplant when a light frost is still possible. Self-seed quite readily. Prefers partial shade and moist rich soil.

Nepeta cataria (Catnip) - Planting: Sow indoors just beneath the surface of the soil 8-10 weeks before last frost. Seeds will germinate in 7-21 days. Plant out in early spring when a light frost is still possible. Best grown in full sun or partial shade.

Seed Saving: Seeds are ready to harvest when the blooms begin to turn brown and dry. When the heads are completely dry, gently crush the heads between your hands and then carefully winnow away the chaff.




Nicotianu alata & sylvestris (Tobacco) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors just beneath the surface of the soil 6-8 weeks before last frost. Seeds will germinate in 10-20 days. Plant out after the danger of frost has passed in late spring. Prefers full sun to partial shade and average soil. Will reseed year after year.

Seed Saving: Very easy for seed savers. When the blooms fade, a seedpod is formed at the base of the bloom, turning from green to brown. Once the seedpod turns brown, cut off and allow to completely dry before removing the hundreds of small sand-like seeds.




Nigella damuscenu (Love-in-a-Mist "Oxford Blue") - Planting: Sow outdoors just beneath the surface of the soil when a light frost is still possible. Seeds germinate in 8-15 days. Will self-seed profusely. Love-in-a-Mist prefers full sun and average soil. Tolerates dry conditions.

Seed Saving: Extremely easy for seed savers. When the blooms fade, a very ornamental seedpod is formed as seen in the photograph on the seed packet. Once the seedpod turns brown, simple cut off and allow to completely dry before cracking open and removing the hundreds of small seeds. Store seeds in a cool dry area.




Nigella sativa (Black Cumin) - Planting: Sow outdoors just beneath the surface of the soil when a light frost is still possible. Seeds germinate in 8-15 days. Will self-seed profusely. Cumin prefers full sun and average soil. Tolerates dry conditions.

Seed Saving: Extremely easy for seed savers. When the blooms fade, a very ornamental seedpod is formed as seen in the photograph on the seed packet. Once the seedpod turns brown, simply cut off and allow to completely dry before cracking open and removing the hundreds of small seeds. Store seeds in a cool dry area.




Ocimum basilicum (Basil) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors when the soil is warm and the temperature does not drop below 65° F. Can be started indoors 4-6 weeks before planting out. Space plants 4-6" apart in all directions. Plant seeds just beneath the surface. Seeds germinate in 5-30 days, so keep moist. Prefers full sun and rich, well- drained soil.

Seed Saving: Basil will cross-pollinate with other varieties of basil and must be separated by 150' while flowering. Plants form seed capsules containing four seeds. Allow seed capsules to dry, then harvest and separate by hand.




Osteospermum ecklonis - Planting: Sow indoors just beneath the surface of the soil 6-8 weeks before last frost. Seeds germinate in 10-15 days. Transplant when soil is warm. Prefers full sun and rich well-drained soil.

Petunia multiflora (Petunia) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors on the surface of the soil 8-10 weeks before last frost. Seeds will germinate in 7-10 days. Plant out after the danger of frost has passed in late spring. Prefers full sun to partial shade and average soil.

Seed Saving: Very easy for seed savers. When the blooms fade, a seedpod is formed, turning from green to brown. Once the seedpod turns brown, cut off and allow to completely dry before cracking open and removing the hundreds of small sand-like seeds.




Petroselinum crispum - Planting: Sow outdoors 1/4” deep when there is still a chance of light frost. Seeds germinate in 14-21 days. Can soak seeds in warm water for 24 hours before planting. Prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained rich soil.

Pimpinellu anisum (Parsley)- Planting: Sow seeds outdoors ¼ " deep when there is still a chance of light frost. Can also be started earlier and set out as small plants. Seeds germinate in 14-21 days. Seeds can be soaked in warm water for 24 hours before planting. Prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained, rich soil.

Seed Saving: Parsleys will cross-pollinate, so isolate by 1 mile the second year when going to seed. Dig up parsley roots in the fall before a hard frost. Trim the tops to 2" and store in sawdust, sand or leaves. Parsley roots will store 3-4 months when kept between 32-40° F. Plant out in the early spring. Harvest seed heads when dry, and separate by hand.




Polygonum orientale (Kiss-Me-Over-the-Garden-Gate) - Planting: Sow seed in the spring in a sunny, moist, well-drained area. Plant ¼" deep, thin to 1' apart after germination. Seeds are very hard and may take up to 4 weeks to germinate, so keep moist. Planting seeds in the fall can also work well. Prefers full sun to partial shade and a rich well-drained soil. Reseeds year after year. If transplanting volunteers, be careful not to disturb roots.

Seed Saving: Seeds can easily be saved at the end of the season. Before frost clip off the most mature pink catkins and allow to dry in a well protected area. When completely dry rub the catkins between your hands to separate the seeds.




Ricinus communis (Castor Bean) - Planting: Sow indoors in pots ½" beneath the surface of the soil, 6-8 weeks before last frost. Seeds will germinate in 15-20 days. Transplant after the danger of frost has passed. Can also be direct-seeded in warmer areas. Castor beans prefer rich soil and full sun.

Seed Saving: Seed pods form intriguing sea-urchin like red globes, as seen in the photograph on the seed packet. These globes can be allowed to mature and will contain the seeds. If you are worried about curious children, remove globes as soon as they appear.




Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) - Planting: Sow indoors just beneath the surface of the soil 6-8 weeks before last frost. Seeds will germinate in 5-21 days. Transplant when the danger of frost is past. Black-Eyed Susan prefers average well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. Biennial or hardy annual.

Seed Saving: Seeds are ready to harvest when the blooms begin to turn brown and dry. When the heads are completely dry, gently crush the heads between your hand and then carefully winnow away the chaff.




Salpiglossis sinuata (Painted Tongue) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors just beneath the surface of the soil 10 weeks before last frost. Seeds will germinate in 7-14 days and do best when allowed to germinate in darkness. Plant out after the danger of frost has passed in late spring. Prefers full sun to partial shade and average soil.

Seed Saving: Very easy for seed savers. When the blooms fade, a seedpod is formed, turning from green to brown. Once the seedpod turns brown, cut off and allow to completely dry before cracking open and removing the hundreds of small sand-like seeds.




Salvia officinalis (Sage) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors on the surface of the soil 6-8 weeks before last frost. Can be directly sown outdoors two weeks after the last spring frost. Seeds will germinate in 4-21 days. Plant out into full sun after the danger of frost has passed in late spring. Prefers rich, moist, well-drained soil.

Seed Saving: Seeds are ready to harvest when the blooms begin to turn brown and dry. When the heads are completely dry, gently crush the heads between your hands and then carefully winnow away the chaff from the seeds.




Silphium perfoliatum (Cupplant) - Planting: Sow indoors just beneath the surface of the soil 6-8 weeks before the last frost. Seeds will germinate in 10-14 days. Plant seedlings outdoors after the danger of frost has passed and the soil is warm. Can also be direct-seeded after the danger of frost. Plants prefer full sun to partial shade and tolerate almost any soil. Annual.

Seed Saving: Seeds are ready to harvest when the blooms begin to turn brown and dry. When the heads are completely dry, gently crush the heads between your hand and then carefully winnow away the chaff.




Stachys lanata (Lamb's Ear) - Planting: Sow indoors 8-10 weeks before planting out. Sow seeds just beneath the surface of the soil. Seeds will germinate in 15-30 days. Transplant outdoors in early spring when a light frost is still possible. Does best full sun to partial shade and rich well-drained soil.

Seed Saving: Lamb’s Ear is a perennial producing seed each season. Watch the small purple flowers closely, when they begin to fade, cut off the stalks, and dry further in a protected area over newspaper. The seed is very small. Plants will also self-sow.




Tagetes patula/tenuifolia (Marigold) - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors 2 weeks before the last frost. Plant the seeds just beneath the surface of the soil. Seeds will germinate in 4-10 days. Marigolds prefer full sun (may need light shade in extremely warm areas) and a well-balanced slightly dry soil.

Seed Saving: Marigolds will produce lots of seed in a similar fashion to a Zinnia or Calendula. When the blooms dry out, cut them off and hang upside down in bunches. The seeds are contained in the heads and, once dry and crisp, can be lightly hand-crushed and winnowed from the seed chaff.




Talinum paniculatum (Jewel's of Opar) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors on the surface of the soil 6 weeks before the last frost in pots or flats. Seeds will germinate in 14-21 days. Transplant outdoors after the last frost. Prefers full sun.

Seed Saving: When the blooms fade, a ruby-orange seedpod is formed. Once the seedpod starts to dry, cut off and allow to dry further in a well protected area. Then the seedpods can be cracked open and all of the small seeds can be collected.




Tithonia rotundiflora - Planting: Sow indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost or sow outdoors just beneath the surface of the soil after the last frost in areas where summers are long. Prefers full sun and light soil; quite drought tolerant.

Trapaeolum majus - Planting: Sow outdoors 1 week after last frost 1/4" beneath the surface of the soil. Seeds will germinate in 7-12 days. Will need support to climb. Prefers full still and average moist soil.

Venidium fastuosum - Planting: Sow indoors 1/8" deep 8-10 weeks before last frost just beneath the surface of the soil. Seeds germinate in 6-14 days. Does well in dry areas. Prefers full sun and light dry soil.

Vigna caracalla (Snail Flower) - Planting: Sow seeds indoors, 1" deep, 4-6 weeks before the last frost. Seeds will germinate in 5-15 days. Transplant outdoors after the danger of frost has passed. Prefers full sun.

Seed Saving: Viable seed is extremely hard to produce, but when it does set seed, harvest when the pods dry. The roots can be dug in the fall in northern areas and overwintered the way you would a dahlia. Can also be propagated by cuttings. The blooms the second year are even more magnificent.




Viola x wittrockiana (Historic Pansies Mixture) - Planting: Sow indoors ¼" deep, 10-12 weeks before planting out. Seeds will germinate in 10-14 days. Transplant when the spring temperatures are still cool and a light frost is possible. Plants enjoy cool, rich soil and grow well in partial shade.

Seed Saving: Violas are well known for being self-seeders. Seeds can be collected by cutting the entire plant in late summer after the blooming has stopped. Dry plants on a piece of paper and collect the tiny black seeds.




Zinnia elegans (Zinnia) - Planting: Sow outdoors after last frost just beneath the surface of the soil. Seeds will germinate in 5-24 days. Zinnias prefer full sun and well-drained average soil.

Seed Saving: Zinnias will cross-pollinate. Gardeners should only grow one variety at a time to save pure seed, or isolate varieties by ¼ mile. Seeds are ready to harvest when the blooms begin to turn brown and dry. The seeds are contained in the very center. When the heads are completely dry, gently crush the heads between your hand and then carefully winnow away the chaff.

Saving seed from flowers and herbs: Most flowers and herbs are self-seeding and volunteer. Seed must be harvested from dry pods before they shatter, usually 2-3 weeks after flowering. Dry the seeds in a shaded area for one week, then seal in an air-tight container and store under refrigeration.

For additional seed planting instructions, A-Z Guide to Growing Flowers: from Seed to Bloom by Eileen Powell contains detailed techniques for over 600 annuals, perennials, and bulbs.

Seed Savers Exchange
3094 North Winn Rd, Decorah Iowa 52101
Phone: 563-382-5990 ~ Fax: 563-382-5872