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Seed Saving at NIKIAN Gardens

Sorghum bicolor 'Ba-Ye-Qi'

At NIKIAN Gardens, seed collecting signals the end of one plant cycle and the beginning of another. We think of the 'year' as a continuous spiral rather than linear in form and motion.

The seed saver's garden looks a bit ragged as the summer season matures into fall, because spent flowers are not dead-headed if they are being kept for their seed production.

But this is the"look of autumn," and many seed pods are attractive in their own right while they dry down and await seed collection.

Martagon lilies (Lilium martagon)

Dill (Anethum graveolens), most has been harvested

And some seed heads are downright spectacular!

Mullen (Verbascum thapsus)

Sunflower (Helianthus 'Mammoth Russian')

Amaranthus 'Autumn Palette'

Tree Peony (Paeonia rockii)

The race is on now... harvesting when the weather is dry and processing when the weather is wet.

We are hoping we won't lose too much to predation and damp weather, which can cause mold and ruin seed.

The quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) may not mature in time.

Of the millions of seeds produced here, we require just a small amount to sow for next summer's flowers and food. The rest we share with the wildlife - many birds and the opportunistic chipmunks and squirrels.

Ms. Squirrel's debris from eating our hazelnuts

Mr. Chipmunk's stash of beans stolen from our drying racks, now eroding out of a wall where he has a tunnel!

The gardens provide birds and other wildlife a continuous supply of safe food. We, too, count seed harvests among our most important food crops - think rice, beans, and nuts - our vegetarian staples. Our main crops are now in, and for these we are truly grateful.

Freshly harvested brown rice (Oryza sativa 'Hayayuki')

Black Turtle, Navy and Orca beans (Phaseolus vulgarus)

Hazelnuts (Corylus hybrid), shucking and drying

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