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Monday, July 25, 2011

How to Harvest Spinach Seeds

How to Harvest Spinach Seeds

  • 5 gallon bucket or brown grocery paper bag  
  • Garden shears
  • Strainer with 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch holes
  • Large bowl to catch seeds as they fall
  • Seed container (e.g., envelopes, plastic snack bags, etc.)

  1. You will know when spinach plants are ready to form seeds when they shoot out a stalk that  produces flowers.  These blooms will disappear and seeds will form in its place.  See Photo 1.    
  2. You should collect the seeds when the plant is dry so avoid collecting them in the early morning or after they have been watered.  
  3. Use the garden shears to cut the spinach stalks off.  
  4. After you cut the stalks, place them in the bucket or paper bag upside down.  Allow the seeds to completely dry out in a cool, dry location.    
  5. After the stalks have dried and turned brown, start collecting the seeds.  See Photo 2.  Place the strainer over the bowl.  Then use your hand to strip the stalk of its seeds using one fluid motion.  See Photo 3.
  6. Remove the strainer.  You can repeat the straining process if you would like to remove more of the leaves.  
  7. Label the seed container with its name and date collected (if desired).  Then pour the seeds into your seed container.  Store seeds in a cool, dry location until you are ready to plant them in the garden.  See Photo 4    
Photo 1: Seeds forming on spinach.

Photo 2: The little balls on the dried spinach stem are seeds.

Photo 3: Seeds and dead leaves are stripped from the stem.

Photo 4: Spinach seeds in a plastic snack bag.

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