Calendula will teach you about patience and harvesting seed at the right time and a bit about the frustration of seed cleaning.
Once the petals drop from calendula flowers, you’ll see green seeds sitting right there on the flower stem. Very tempting to harvest but if you go to rub them off the plant, the calendula flower holds tightly onto the seeds. These seeds are not ready.
Wait a few weeks and the seeds turn brown. Now, if you reach for the flowers, the dried brown seeds readily shatter into your hand. Mama calendula is very happy for you to take these seeds and spread them far.
Calendula seed comes in 2 sizes, larger pale seeds (like those in the picture) and darker small seeds (not shown). Both sizes are viable but they make it harder to screen the seed effectively. Especially with their hook shape.
Picking the seed out of the dried flower parts is an easy way to clean small amounts of calendula seed.
Even easier is to not clean the seeds at all. Simply put dry seeds and chaff into an envelope. It will be simple enough to sow them this way next year.
And yes, calendula is a Crosser. 700’ should be a good enough isolation distance if you’re trying to keep varieties distinct.
Calendula is a very easy cut flower for #seedsavingformarketgrowers.
The PROS of saving Calendula seed:
- Readily dries down in field
- Very easy to extract the seed
- Tons of blooms even if you let a few go to seed
- There are some solid open pollinated varieties
- Annual – from seed to seed in 1 season
The CONS of saving Calendula seed:
- Crossers gonna cross
- Can be irritating to clean the seed
4 lbs to 7 lbs from a 100ft bed