Collection of annual seeds?

(Question)

I live in the Colborne area of Ontario – zone 4/5 and would like to save seeds from my columbines and different poppies which seed themselves where they want to!! But I would like to have them come up where I want them to!

So, are the seeds viable as soon as the flowers drop off or should the seed pod be dark?

(Answer)

What a great idea to collect seeds from your Columbines and Poppies.

You need to wait for the seedheads to change colour before you gather them.  Unripe seedheads contain unripe seeds, which do not germinate.  Unripe seedheads are greenish and juicy, whereas ripe seedheads are darker, dry and brittle.  Once the seedheads change colour, the seeds inside are ripe.  Choose a dry day to gather the seedheads so that the seeds inside remain dry, and do this before the pods start to open because once they do, the seeds get quickly dispersed.  Lay seedheads, of the same plant, on a tray to dry out completely, then shake the seeds for storage in appropriately named paper envelopes.

Have fun!