Harvesting chive seeds is a great way to share your favorite herb with friends, or save them to plant next year. In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to collect chive seeds from your garden, step by step.
If you’ve never tried collecting seeds from your garden before, this is a great one to start with.
As long as you get the timing right, you’ll be rewarded with tons of free chive seeds with very little effort.
You will feel so accomplished after gathering the seeds for the next growing season. Plus they’re great to trade for others, or share with friends.
Here’s what you’ll find in this step by step guide for how to harvest chive seeds…
Harvesting Chives Seeds From Your Garden
You can collect the seeds from both regular and garlic chives. It doesn’t matter what type you have in your garden.
The flower may look a little bit different between these two varieties, but the steps for saving the seeds are the same.
Do Chives Have Seeds?
Yes, chive plants get seeds, and they produce a lot of them. In fact, they can actually be aggressive self sowers if you don’t collect the seeds.
So, if you don’t plan to save them, you should deadhead your chives before the plant produces seeds, to prevent unwanted volunteers.
When Do They Go To Seed?
Chive plants go to seed after they are done flowering. This is usually sometime in early to mid summer in my garden in Minnesota.
But the exact timing can be a little different for you. It could be earlier or later, depending on where you live.
Where Are The Seeds In Chives?
Chives produce seeds inside of the flower heads. They aren’t noticeable or mature until after the blooms have faded and dried out.
When To Harvest Chive Seeds
You can tell the seeds are ready to harvest when you see black dots inside of the flower heads. If you disturb the plant, and seeds start to fly out, you know it’s time to collect them.
Allow the flower heads to dry out on the plant before harvesting the seeds. But don’t leave them on there for too long, or all of the seeds will drop and be lost.
What Do The Seed Pods Look Like?
Technically, chives don’t form seed pods. The individual seeds form inside the flower heads, rather than in a pod. So, look for brown and dried out flowers.
What Do Chive Seeds Look Like?
Chive seeds are black, and slightly larger than sesame seeds. They are a half moon shape – where one side is rounded, and the other is flat (kind of like a lemon wedge). They are also very hard, almost like tiny rocks.
How To Harvest Chive Seeds
Harvesting chive seeds doesn’t take much time, and you don’t need any special equipment or supplies to do it. Here’s all that you’ll need.
- Collection container (small plastic bucket, baggie, bowl, or paper bag)
- Mini snip pruners (optional)
Step 1: Choose your collection container – I recommend using a plastic bowl of some kind, or a small plastic bucket to harvest chive seeds.
Step 2: Hold the flower head steady – Take a flower head in one hand, holding it as steady as you can so the seeds won’t scatter. If it shakes, it will start dropping the seeds.
Step 3: Capture the seeds in your container – To collect chive seeds, position your container so it’s underneath the flower head. Then, gently shake it until you’ve harvested all of the seeds.
Repeat with as many of the flowers as you want, until you’ve gathered the desired amount of seeds.
Optional method: If it’s easier, you can clip the flower heads with a sharp pair of garden snips, and drop them into a paper bag or plastic baggie. Then fold over the top, and shake it to release the seeds.
Step 4: Bring the seeds inside – Take your container or paper bag inside the house to prepare the seeds for storage.
What To Do With Chive Seeds You Collected
After harvesting chive seeds from your backyard, you’ll need to clean them to remove the chaff, and dry them before storing.
Separate Them From The Chaff
Chive seeds are easy to spot and separate from the chaff (i.e.: the flower pieces and other debris). Getting rid of the chaff will help ensure the seeds dry out properly, and reduce mildew problems.
To separate the seeds from the chaff, dump the contents of your container or bag out onto a flat surface.
Remove the largest chunks of chaff by hand. Then lightly blow on the pile to remove the smaller, lighter pieces.
Allow Them To Dry Out
It’s important to allow your collected chives seeds to dry out completely before storing them. This won’t take very long, especially if it was dry outside when you gathered them.
How To Save Chive Seeds For Next Year
In order to successfully save chive seeds for next year, you’ll need to keep them in a cool, dry, and dark location.
How Long Do Chive Seeds Last?
Like other plants in the onion family, chive seeds only last for about one year. After that, the viability rate goes down significantly.
So, make sure to either plant them or trade them within one year of harvesting chive seeds, and replenish your stash annually.
Where To Buy New Seeds
If you don’t have them growing in your garden to collect, you can buy chive seeds in the spring either online or at any nursery.
Collecting chive seeds is so easy. It’s definitely worth the small amount of time and effort it takes. You can harvest as many chive seeds as you want. Then plant them in your garden, share with your friends, or trade for others.
If you want to learn everything there is to know about how to successfully grow your own seeds, then you should take my online Seed Starting Course. It’s a comprehensive self-guided online course, that you can complete at your own pace, anytime you want. Enroll and get started today!
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What tips would you add for collecting chive seeds and saving them from your garden?