Farming is an expensive affair, and seeds are costing more and more with each passing day. Looking for cheaper ways of accessing plant seeds will save money and energy for the farmer. Basil is one of the plants whose seeds one should save for future use.
Why are basil seeds so important? Apart from being a fragrant plant, the herb is an ingredient or spice for your food, a flower for your indoor home, and an art piece enhancing your space appearance. Every time a friend visits, they want to have a basil plant in their homes similar to mine.
Seed storage methods
There are two ways you can employ to save and store the seeds safely. You can either cut the stalks when dry, and the seeds are ready for storage or cut the green stalks and dry the seeds yourself before storage. Here is a step by step guide, allowing you to follow the required steps before safely storing the seeds for future use.
Step one: grow and cater to your current batch of basil plants
Basil requires special attention after planting. If you desire to use or store the basil seeds, you need to commit to taking care of the plant in question. Regular feeding and watering intervals until the plant matures essential. Let it bloom and produce seeds instead of cutting it down to use on food like a salad or to cook.
Step two: Leave the flowers to dry
After a while, the mature basil flowers will start to wither and dry out with maturity. Leave them completely dry and let the seed capsule begin to style and form around the dried flowers.
Monitor the drying process until you notice the brown patches forming. Please leave it in position for a while longer until all capsules are entirely brown. Do not be in a hurry as the process takes approximately a month and two weeks.
If any single part of the pod is green, leave it to dry. If all capsules are brown, then these are the pieces to harvest for their seeds. Proceed to evaluate the basil and prepare for harvesting.
Step two: Cut the flower stalk before they dry
Sometimes waiting for the seeds to dry on their own can present a challenge, mainly if producing basil for sale. Once a section is mature and starts drying out, some professionals cut down the stalks and lay them outside in the sun to dry. In the meantime, they plant more on that space allowing for continuous yields.
The cut basil stalk may take a longer or shorter period to dry, depending on the external environment. If it is exceptionally sunny, they will dry out fast. However, if it was cold, the drying process may take longer. Once they are dry, you can follow the rest of the preparation and storage steps.
Step three: Cut the dry basil stem/stalk
Examine the stalk and the cone-like dry stubs attached to it. If the top of the stalk is still green or flowery, leave it behind to dry. However, if the stalk is dry, cut it and carry it to a dry and clean space, place in a wide bowl with ample room for any seeds that shatter breaking free of their capsules.
Ensure it has a depression to further save the seeds from jumping outside the bowl. These capsules are fragile, and any force you exert on them can result in a pop sound, and the seeds fly out of control and personal reach. A bowl with shallow depth works in your favor.
Step four: Remove the seeds from the capsule
If the husk is not fragile, you need to remove the seeds using your hands. Pick one of the pods from the basil stalk and open it carefully using your hands. Remove the husks and consider the small black like seeds present in it. These are the seeds that you should endeavor to store for future use.
The process can be tedious and tiring. One requires patience if faced with such a task. You will need to remove every husk to get all the seeds inside the husks. Since the process is troublesome, farmers and other professionals have searched for newer and more organized, if not fast, ways of recovering the seeds.
Step five: Rubbing the seed capsules
Since the hand removal process is tiring and challenging due to the seeds’ small stature, rubbing the capsules together saves time and effort. Gently put the capsules between your thumb and other fingers. Rub slowly and with little pressure and let the seeds drop into the bowl. You decide to use a paper if convenient for you.
Step six: Separate the seeds from the husks
The seeds are tiny and require a unique tool to pick them up and separate from the husks. Use your tweezers to pick the seeds from the paper or bowl. Set the seeds in a container.
Blow the husks gently separating the seeds from the husks, and continue picking the seeds. The process is also cumbersome and cast longer, mostly if sorting through more than a single basil stalk.
Step seven: Remedy the whole seed capsules
Sometimes, rubbing is not enough to separate the seeds, and thus, the seeds remain locked inside the capsule. You may need to apply more pressure by separating the husk from seeds using your hands. Exercising patience to see the seeds free of the husks is a huge problem and a huge asset. Once the seeds are free and ready for storage, you will be proud of the work.
Step eight: Storage
Do not keep the seeds in an airtight container after the harvesting session. It is essential to leave them in the open air for a while longer before permanently storing them. Place the harvested seeds in a small bowl and place it on the shelf in a dark corner. Leave it for a whole week.
The storage aims to ensure any lingering moisture in the seeds evaporates, leaving the seeds dry. After the week is over, pick the seeds and place them in an airtight container. Close it tight and place it back on the shelves. A jar with an airtight lid works quite well. If not, choose any container that you can lock.
If the jars are unavailable, a sealed paper envelope will do just fine.
Step nine: Plant
Once the planting period sets in, it is time to retrieve your stored basil seeds. Take the jar from the shelves and open it. Pick the seeds with your hands and examine them. You will notice that they are still healthy. Prepare your basil pot with essential growing items for the basil plant, plant the small seeds by sprinkling them over the soil. Wait to repeat the entire process once again.
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Basil is a revered plant in the most homestead as it doubles the house plants that double as a decoration and an ingredient or spice for your food. The seeds are nutritious and provide essential food elements the body needs. Growing the plant is a simple process, but harvesting the seeds is challenging due to their small size.
When harvesting, pick the dried stalks or dry them under the sun. Rub the capsules gently between the fingers allowing the husks to drop, leaving the seeds unprotected. Before storage, dry the seed by keeping them in an open bowl on the shelves for an entire week.
Store by locking the seeds in an airtight bag!