Use an organza bag to catch flight-risk seeds. Photo: http://www.pinterest.com/monarchgarden
Gardeners who harvest seeds for future crops often run into a problem: the seed pod opens without warning, releasing the seeds before they can collect them.
This is particularly the case of seeds bearing silk-like hairs (dandelions and milkweeds, for example). They’re quickly carried off by the wind as soon as they ripen. Other plants have seed capsules that burst open almost violently at maturity and throw the seeds far and wide (impatiens, for example). And there are so many other examples.
For “flight-risk” seeds that may disappear into the wild before you have time to harvest them, it’s wise to cover the flower with a mesh bag that will prevent the seeds from escaping. Install the bag as soon as the flower fades, then, when the seeds are released, they’ll remain inside the bag and you’ll be able to harvest them at will.
Such bags can also be used to prevent flower pollination (a use mostly of interest to budding hybridizers who want to control which flower will be the pollen parent).
But where can you find the kind of bag you need: aerated (to prevent rot), yet weather resistant?
Probably not your local garden center! Instead, try party supply stores, dollar stores or even the Internet. You’ll discover you can buy, at a very reasonable price, little organza gift bags with a ribbon as a drawstring. These bags are designed to prepare small bags of party gifts for children’s birthday parties, weddings, anniversaries, etc., but work very well as a gardening tool too. And you can use them again and again for many years.