Fall Gardening: Saving Annual Seeds

It’s that time of the year, friends. 


And with autumn comes so many seasonal living to-dos — many of which are in the garden.

cream zinnia flower in bloom

When it comes to fall gardening to-dos, there are many.

Summer blooms needing to be pruned. Spent annuals needing to be removed (or left if you’re into Piet Oudolf’s style). Adding extra mulch before it gets too cold. MORE weeding. One last fertilizer boost to help push out the last of the blooms before the season ends. And of course, saving annual seeds for the following year.

Yes, while autumn is a beautiful time in the garden, it does bring with it plenty of work. In fact, the longer I garden, the more I realize just how much work comes with each season of the garden. It seems to never end, except perhaps in the dead of winter, but then you’re planning next year’s gardens, so the gardening really continues. 

woman harvesting dried flower blooms for seeds
dried cosmo blooms

If you have a garden, then you know what I’m talking about. Gardens are quite time-consuming! However, the payoff is worth it. At least to me. I mean, there’s just something so therapeutic about getting out in the garden and working in it. Do you feel that too? Surely I’m not the only one.

Not only that but gardens provide such beauty to look as you stroll around your home or property as well as provide beauty inside your home as you cut blooms and bring them in for fresh flower arrangements.

dried zinnia bloom in front of garden bed
dried zinnia bloom

One of the fall garden to-dos I recently found myself occupied with was harvesting the dried blooms from some of my annual plants — cosmos and zinnias.

While I could leave the dried seed heads on the plants to, hopefully, self-seed next year, I chose not to do that in this particular garden. These annuals were planted to fill in space in this garden until my perennials grow a bit more. I also wanted them to provide fresh cut flowers for my home as well.

Saving annual seeds and packaging them away for next spring will allow me to have these same beautiful plants, only in another space. It will also help me to save money at the same time as I won’t need to purchase these seeds again next year.

In fact, earlier this year, I purchased one seed package of each of these plants, but after saving annual seeds from each of them, I’ll have 20-30 times the amount of seeds I originally purchased if not more! Talk about a way to create more garden spaces and have more cut-flowers without spending a fortune. Plants are like the gift that keeps on giving!

dried flower blooms in basket outdoors

So as I looked over the garden, I tried to discern which blooms were ready to be harvested and which needed to be left so the seeds could continue to mature. Many of my cosmos were dried black and crunchy as were some of the zinnias, but it seemed that many of the zinnias needed a bit longer to dry.

I took my dried blooms inside, printed off the loveliest little printable garden seed saver packets from Creative Cain Cabin, cut them out, taped them up, and labeled them while enjoying a glass of cabernet. Finally, I was ready to begin harvesting seeds and filling my newly created little seed packages.

printable seed packets and annual flower seeds
seeds in seed packet

Now I have attended to my gardens a bit, and while I have some seeds set aside, there is more work to do.

Later this week, you’ll find me out removing old, spent plants and doing some weeding and pruning. While the morning glories I planted never bloomed, their vines were prolific — taking over everything around them! These vines need to be cut back, and my birdhouse needs a bit of repairing as well. 

With each passing week, there is more to do, but it’s good work — therapeutic work for the mind and body.

homemade seed saver packets
seed packets in basket
printed seed packets

If you’d like a look at the particular garden I’m talking about in this post, you can get a mini-tour of it in this weekly vlog over on YouTube. You’ll also find me harvesting some of the very annuals I’m talking about here and making some fresh cut flower arrangements with them too!

Happy fall gardening, friends?

Psst… what fall gardening to-dos do you have planned this year? I’d love to know in the comments below. I may be forgetting about something I need to do!

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