The Flowers of Next Year’s Vegetables

A Gallery of Seed Saving Plants

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
September 1, 2013

Leek seed heads

Leeks in flower

Ever wonder where your vegetable seeds came from? Before they made it to the seed packet you bought at the garden store, they were harvested off a plant that was left to flower and then go to seed.

As gardeners and food eaters we know what carrot or lettuce plants look like, but many of us have never seen these plants when they produce their seeds.

Take a tour through this gallery of seed saving vegetables to see the garden’s second harvest. It’s nature at work, reproducing itself and adapting to the conditions around it, feeding the bees with pollen and nectar from the flowers, forming fruits that mature and release seeds for birds to eat and disseminate, or humans to harvest for next season!

A Seed Saver’s Gallery of Flowering Vegetables

lettuce plant lettuce in flower lettuce seeds
Lettuce – When the weather is hot and days are long, the lettuce plant sends up a stalk which forms a flower head with tiny yellow flowers. In time, the flowers mature into tuffs with the seeds attached.

carrot plant carrot flower carrot seeds
Carrots are biennials. In the second year, the plant sends up a tall, branched stalk with large flower heads, which eventually produce seeds.

3a beets 3b beet seeds beet seeds
Beets are biennials that produce their seed stalk in the second year. The tall seed stem branches extensively and develops small “balls,” each containing multiple seeds.

tomato flowers tomato plant tomato seeds
Tomato seeds come from inside the fruit. As the plant grows it produces multiple small yellow flowers. Each of these becomes a tomato (fruit), containing seeds for the next generation.

radish plant radish seed pods radish pod and seed
Radishes send up a flower stalk which eventually produces seed pods. When the pods are brown, the seed is ready for harvest.

zucchini plant in flower zucchini with seeds zucchini seeds
The seeds of zucchini and other summer squashes develop inside the fruit. Zucchini seeds ripen about eight weeks after the normal harvest time for eating the squash.

bunching onions in flower onion seed head onion seeds
Onions – In the second year of growth, onions send up a tall, thick-necked stalk with a beautiful round umbel composed of many tiny flowers. Once the flowers dry, they expose small black seeds.

kale plant flowering kale plant kale seeds and pods
Kale sends up tall stems with yellow four-petaled flowers, and bears long, narrow seed pods over a period of time. As they dry on the stalk, kale pods break open and scatter their small round seeds.


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More about gardening:
10 Tips for Year-Round Vegetable Gardens10 Tips for Year-Round Vegetable Gardens

Plan a Seed Saving GardenPlan a Seed Saving Garden

tomato seed savingHow to Save Tomato Seeds

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