I may not know everything I should know to be out here writing a garden blog but one of my goals, all along, was to write about the things I had to figure out the hard way because no one else had put it on the internet.
I had been blogging about six weeks when I took on the subject of hand plows not being called hand plows on the internet. Overnight, I became the world-wide expert on hand plows. Don’t think I can’t see you snickering with a raised eyebrow as if to say, “Hand plows? Really?” I’m telling you the truth! It forced me to write a more serious piece on hand plows rather than leaving the unlearned out there hanging on my original fluff post. My status as a hand plow expert was not intentional. In search of the bizarre names given to hand plows, they flock to my blog from every conceivable corner of the globe, maybe even the universe. After all, the flag counter people can’t identify a couple of those “unknown satellite providers” so there just might be people on Mars wanting to know about hand plows. What I know for certain is that 91 countries have visited my blog and most of them want to know about hand plows. Really.
The latest thing I tried to find on the internet was how to save seeds from Johnny Jump Ups, now referred to by most seed catalogs as Violas. I had purchased a 4-pack of purple and gold violas at a local nursery and found that seeds for that particular color combination were not widely available.
While a scarce few websites tried to explain how seed saving was done, let’s face it, photographs are great teaching tools and the photos were not out there. I have figured it out the hard way and … drum roll … I’m here to fill the void.
After the violas started to bloom, I carefully picked over them looking for seeds. I never saw anything that looked like a seed pod. Finally, this month, the seed pods appeared. The pods look like a three-fingered star when open and the seeds obvious. Once you know to look for this star, you can see them from a standing position without having to get down on your hands and knees with a magnifying glass like Sherlock Holmes.
Don’t be fooled by this photo. I’ve blown it up considerably for you to be able to see what the seed pod looks like. The actual star-shaped pod is no bigger than your thumb nail.
It will be just my luck for these viola seeds, after this season’s intense study of them, to be hybrid seeds that won’t bloom true for me next year. Instead of deep velvety purple and gold, I’ll get purple and orange polka dots or some other color combination that “just ain’t right.”
I fell short of explaining how to save the Viola seeds and my beloved readers graciously pointed this out to me. Here’s how I do it: the seeds are very small so I dry them on a plain white paper plate to make them easy to see. I dry them for a week or so then put them in a paper envelope. Yes, I could put them in a plastic baggie but if they aren’t dry enough, the moisture and the plastic will cause them to mold. A paper envelope absorbs the moisture and is less likely to mold. I mark the paper envelope with the name of the seed and the year. I tend to prefer keeping like color-combinations together so I have several viola seed envelopes. In the fall, after the heat cools down, you can plant your saved Violas seeds. Violas are a cool weather flower.