Friday, October 23, 2009

Saving Lettuces

I will be participating in a seed swap in November, and, since today is rainy (surprise!) and I can't be outside planting the garlic, I decided to finally try to separate seeds from the Tom Thumb lettuce flowers I saved this summer.

According to Suzanne Ashworth's book Seed to Seed, it is possible to "use a fine mesh screen that will allow the seeds to pass through and restrict the feathers." Now, we all know that flowers do not contain feathers, but that is the word used in the book to describe the downy fluff that lettuce seeds are attached to. Lettuce is in the same plant family as asters and dandelions, the Asteraceae, and anyone familiar with the feathery fluff that those flowers turn into as they mature will have a pretty good idea what the word "feathers" implies: 1. the seeds will drift away on any slight breeze that happens along, and 2. getting the fluff off the seeds might not be as easy as described in Ashworth's book.

Anyone to whom either of those implications had occurred would be correct. On poking around in the garage, I have been unable to locate any bit of screen that meets the criterion of allowing seeds to pass through while restricting the feathers, so I have been separating the seeds from the fluff by hand, one flower-puff at a time.

The good news/bad news is that I didn't save so many flowers that this has been an impossible task, but looking at the little pile of seeds makes me think that I might not have enough to share. Luckily, I have saved plenty of other seeds...


  1. Have the rains settled out there?

  2. Not really. The forecast for tomorrow includes a "100% chance of heavy rain," according to the National Weather Service. The chance of rain lessens over the week, but it still is substantially higher than zero.

    The good news is that the creek that runs along the eastern edge of our yard sounds great! It hasn't bubbled and burbled this much in a few years.

    Hope the weather is nice where you are!

    -Amy, NW of Atlanta


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