Collecting Arugula Seeds
For those of you who have arugula going to seed (or other greens). It is perfectly natural for greens to want to “bolt” (start to produce seed) when it gets hot, but if your greens are already bolting, you might have wanted to pick them & eat them more. They are the types of wonderful plants that produce more, the more you eat. If you neglect them, they will think that their job has passed, and start producing seeds for future generations.
You should select seed from plants that have the best qualities (slow to bolt, deliciousness, resistant to bugs . . . ) Keeping all of that in mind, to collect arugula that is going to seed:
1) When arugula is going to seed, it starts getting much taller & sending up a stalk & white flowers. (You can see them growing amongst my peas in the photo above). After the flowers bloom, the seed pods will form
2) Once, they have browned & dried, cut the seed pods & stalks off the plants.
3) Once the seed pods have formed & started to dry, pick them. You can easily separate the tiny black seeds, by “squishing” pods. If they are ready, they will open easily. Below, you can see my doing it on a sheet . .
4) Separate all plant matter from seeds; and let dry fully in an envelope & jar.
This was very helpful! Thank you for posting it.
Thanks – I jiust picked some pods still green – can I let them dry out then plant them? You mentioned waiting until they were dried up – apparently I did this too early though the white flowers were present
Can they be left to freeze in the shed over the winter?
If they are completely dry, they could withstand a freeze, but if you are planning on planting them next season, it is best just to keep them somewhere dark, dry and in a fairly even temperature. Happy seed saving!
I want to plant something else where the bolted arugula is…can I force the seed pods to dry early by cutting them? Or do I have to wait for them to dry naturally?
Generally, you want to let the seeds dry naturally as long as possible on the plant so that the seeds are fully developed. You can, at times pick them a bit early and dry down further if some of the pods are starting to dry/ seeds are mature. But, if the pods are still green or the seeds aren’t fully formed, they won’t likely mature while drying.