PLANT LIST: Easy Seeds to Save

garddwest seed saving plant list

** some seeds are easier than others to save, certain seeds require specific techniques and many hybridize

Have you ever scooped pumpkin seeds before carving a jack-o-lantern?  You were halfway to “Seed Saving”, and  if you cleaned them for roasting, you were almost there!

Instead of roasting the pumpkin seeds, simply cleaning and air drying them will provide you ample seeds to grow more pumpkins next spring.  All seeds of the Cucurbitaceae family can be saved this way – squash, pumpkins, some gourds, zucchini, cucumbers, melons.  You may already be familiar with “seed saving” peas and beans, if you have ever forgotten a few pods on the vine.  When harvesting your beans and peas, leave a few pods on the plant to turn brown.  Remove the hardened seeds from the pod and ensure they are entirely dry before storing.

Save seeds from fruit or vegetables you grow yourself, or purchase produce from local farmers, markets or gardeners to ensure suitable seeds for your climate.

There are so many different reasons to save your own seeds – from breeding your own garden favourites to trying new farmers-market specialties, you can grow varieties you might never be able to purchase.  Cost-effective, one tomato can produce more seeds than a shopping basket full of seed packets!  Using locally-adapted seeds will increase diversity while strengthening the health of your garden.  Even if you just save seeds from just one variety you have come to love, and continue to purchase the rest of your seeds, the results are still very rewarding.  Saving your own seed is a fun, economical way to get a jump on next year’s gardening season!

HOW TO – Seed Saving 101

CLICK HERE for basic instructions

FEATURE: Seed Saving 101

Saving your own seed is a fun, economical way to get a jump on next year’s gardening season!

Have you ever scooped pumpkin seeds before carving a jack-o-lantern?  You were halfway to “Seed Saving”, and  if you cleaned them for roasting, you were almost there!  Instead of roasting the pumpkin seeds, simply cleaning and air drying them will provide you ample seeds to grow more pumpkins next spring.  All seeds of the Cucurbitaceae family can be saved this way – squash, pumpkins, some gourds, zucchini, cucumbers, melons.  Save seeds from fruit or vegetables you grow yourself, or purchase produce from local farmers, markets or gardeners to ensure suitable seeds for your climate.

There are so many different reasons to save your own seeds – from breeding your own garden favourites to trying new farmers-market specialties, you can grow varieties you might never be able to purchase.  Cost-effective, one tomato can produce more seeds than a shopping basket full of seed packets!  Using locally-adapted seeds will increase diversity while strengthening the health of your garden.  Even if you just save seeds from just one variety you have come to love, and continue to purchase the rest of your seeds, the results are still very rewarding.

Here are a few quick tips to get you started:

garddwest's seed saving guide

  1. Only select seeds from your healthiest looking plants.
  2. When your fruit or vegetables are fully ripe, harvest and remove the seeds from inside.  Other types of seeds will dry on the plant before you harvest.
  3. Rinse and remove wet plant material from wet seeds.  Brush and remove dry plant material from dry seeds.
  4. Air dry seeds thoroughly before packing, to prevent decay.
  5. Some seeds will require specialized “stratification” before or after storing.
  6. Keep your seeds out of direct sunlight in cool, dry location.
    (average shelf life: 2-3 years)

*** please note: these are broad, basic instructions to get you started.  Certain types of seed require specific seed saving techniques – further research may be required.

Butterfly Gardens – 5 PLANT RECIPE

This “recipe” for a Butterfly Banquet comes to us from an excellent book I recently checked out of the Hamilton Library: Five-Plant Gardens (635.932 OND) by Nancy J Ondra, garden writer and editor as well as the former owner and operator of a small rare-plant nursery.  Artfully arranged with a wide variety of vibrant planting layouts there is sure to be a Five-Plant Garden for any taste.  The beautiful Butterfly Banquet below, is only one of 52 captivating gardens in this book, suitable for sun or shade and a range of soils.  Check it out from your local library or independent bookstore for simple to follow perennial garden “recipes” with easy planting tips, as well as a detailed “shopping list” and design for the Butterfly Banquet below!

Butterfly Banquet
(full sun to partial shade)

Five-Plant Gardens by Nancy J. Ondra

  • SWAMP MILKWEED – Asclepias incarnata 
    OR:  BEE BALM – Monarda ‘Marshall’s Delight’
    OR:  JOE PYE WEED – Eupatorium dubium ‘Little Joe’
  • CONEFLOWER – Echinacea purpurea ‘Little Swan’ 
    OR: PHLOX – Phlox paniculata ‘David’ 
    OR: TURTLEHEAD – Chelone glabra ‘Black Ace’ 
  • RUSSIAN SAGE – Perovskia x ‘Little Spire’
    OR: GLOBE THISTLE – Echinops ritro ‘Longwood Blue’ 
    OR: BLUEBEARD – Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Blue Mist’ 
  • YARROW – Achillea ‘Coronation Gold’
    OR: GLORIOSA DAISY – Rudbeckia hirta ‘Prairie Sun’ 
    OR: SHASTA DAISY – Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Sonnenschein’ 
  • PINCUSHION FLOWER – Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’ 
    OR: CATMINT – Nepeta faassenii ‘Kit Kat’ 
    OR: ENGLISH LAVENDER – Lavandula angustifolia 

PLANT LIST: Butterfly Gardens

3

Orange + Pink

BUTTERFLY MILKWEED
– Asclepias tuberosa (info)

YARROW
– Achillea millefolium ‘Summer Pastels’ (info)

BUTTERFLY BUSH
– Buddleia x weyeriana ‘Bicolor’ (pictures)

PERENNIAL SAGE
– Salvia nemorosa ‘Sensation Deep Rose’ (info)

THREADLEAF TICKSEED
– Coreopsis verticillata ‘Sweet Marmalade’ (info)

Blue + Yellow

BUTTERFLY MILKWEED
– Asclepias tuberosa ‘Hello Yello’ (info)

YARROW
– Achillea millefolium ‘Sunny Seduction’ (info)

BUTTERFLY BUSH
– Buddleia ‘Flutterby Petite Blue Heaven’ (info)

PERENNIAL SAGE
– Salvia nemorosa ‘Sensation Sky Blue’ (info)

THREADLEAF TICKSEED
– Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ (info)

Looking for more information about how to select a location for these plants, which butterflies they attract or want to DIY your own Butterfly Garden? -> see the Butterfly Gardens section of our Resources Page and the

FEATURE: Butterfly Gardens

Butterfly gardening provides a garden space that attracts, feeds and provides a home for butterflies and certain moths.  Butterfly garden plants are selected for all stages of the butterfly’s lifecycle – places to lay eggs, leafy food for caterpillars, flowers for adult butterflies as well as complimentary plants to attract other pollinators and deter unwanted pests.  Because many caterpillars and adult butterflies are obligate feeders, meaning they feed exclusively on one plant species, special care must be taken when selecting plants to provide for specific butterflies.

for example – the Monarch Butterfly’s caterpillar is an obligate feeder, and can only feed on milkweed, the adult also prefers to lay her eggs near milkweed to provide the larva with a food source after hatching

finding the best LOCATION
for your Butterfly Garden

The ideal spot for a Butterfly Garden is in warm, direct afternoon sunlight.  Keep in mind, as the sun changes seasonal positions along the horizon, the light and shade patterns in your garden will change.  Select a section of your garden that is sunlight between 3pm and 7pm during the butterflies’ most active season – July to September, here in Southern Ontario.  Dappled morning shade gives relief to caterpillars while bright afternoon sunlight encourages flowers and provides warmth for cold-blooded butterflies sunning themselves.  Most butterfly garden plants listed by Garddwest would do best in sunny, mixed soils but tolerant of a wide range of conditions.

TRY THIS: tracking the sun’s path through your potential garden space
Collect marking flags, sticks, any kind of indicator / Find the area of your garden that gets most afternoon sun / Mark the edge of the sun’s shadow every 15 minutes as it moves through your yard by inserting a flag in the ground

attracting BUTTERFLIES
to your Butterfly Garden

BUTTERFLY MILKWEED

Attracts: Eastern Comma, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Least Skipper, Tawny-edged Skipper, Milkweed Tussock Moth, Snowberry Clearwing Moth
*Host plant for: MONARCH!

YARROW

Attracts: American Painter Lady, Gray Hairstreak

PERENNIAL SAGE

Attracts: Cabbage White, Fiery Skipper, Sachem, Silver-Spotted Skipper, Zabulon Skipper

* information on which butterflies are attracted to specific plants provided by Advice From The Herb Lady and The Natural Web.

choosing the best PLANTS
for your Butterfly Garden

see the more detailed PLANT LIST post, for additional information

12