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applestar
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How do you save basil seeds?

I want to save basil seeds this year. In the past, I just gathered up frost killed basil and crumbled them and there they were! But I have some varieties this year of which I particularly want to be sure to save seeds.

I checked them today, and the seed stalks that are dry have already scattered the seeds that were in the little pockets, and green/fresh ones have white seeds inside -- which completely confused me. :?

At what stage do you collect the seed stalks and how do you process them to be sure to harvest seeds that are fully viable and can expect good germination?
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imafan26
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Re: How do you save basil seeds?

You can collect the seeds when they turn black. If you wait till the stalks are brown and dry most of the seeds will already have been dropped. Seeds start off white then turn green and end up black when they are ripe. I collect the flowers and thresh them inside a can and most of the seeds will fall out easily that way but a few will still be stubborn and have to be rubbed out.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: How do you save basil seeds?

agree, you just have to keep monitoring. When the seeds are ripe, the little pockets will just start to open up so you can see the little black seed inside. That is when you harvest them, even though the stalks are not brown and dry.
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applestar
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Re: How do you save basil seeds?

Thanks @imafan and @rainbowgardener :D

I'm going to look them over tomorrow more carefully. Saving seeds is so much fun and satisfying! :D
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

pepperhead212
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Re: How do you save basil seeds?

Have you isolated the stalks you are saving the seeds from? Basil crosses easily, as do peppers, and attracts the bees and bumblebees to help them.

If you have some special basils you don't want to lose, root some cuttings, and grow in pots. Next spring, root a bunch more, and grow your clones! No chance of crossing this way.
Dave

imafan26
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Re: How do you save basil seeds?

If you collect seeds from anything, you want to make sure the seeds are dry and not after it has rained or the garden watered or they get moldy. Basil seed will expand and stick when they get water soaked. It is why they cannot be sterilized easily with hot water treatment for basil downy mildew.

It is true that basils will cross, but I found not every basil will cross. Lemon, lime will cross. Sweet basil will cross with opal and purple basil. African crosses with purple basil to produce African blue basil, so it might also cross with sweet basil. Thai basil will cross with cinnamon. I have yet to have a sweet basil cross with a Thai or a Thai basil cross cross with a lemon and they have been together (except for the sweet, and purple basils) for years. So far the holy basil has not crossed with anything. It may be some differences between the different species that makes it harder for them to cross naturally.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

pepperhead212
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Re: How do you save basil seeds?

I think that there are 11 or 12 species of basil, but the majority of what we grow are O. basilicum. And all of these can cross. A friend once crossed Siam Queen with a lettuce leaf, trying for a larger Thai basil, but the flavor was lacking. I'd rather just grow more of the small, and get that flavor!
Dave

imafan26
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Re: How do you save basil seeds?

That has been the problem with developing a downy mildew resistant basil. Crossing sweet basil with the resistant basil changes the taste. I is going to take a long time to conventionally develop a resistant sweet basil that tastes the same.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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