1. Know what you’re after. It’s a good idea for you to know exactly what plants you’ll be collecting from, and look them up so you’ll know what time of year they’ll go to seed.
2. Label in advance. You don’t want to have a bunch of seeds collected, and not know what they are. Label plastic or paper baggies with the name of each plant before you go out collecting, so you can put the right seeds in the right bag, and have them sorted right away.
3. When collecting from plants that freely drop seeds, place a bag over the “head” of the plant, and tap it gently to release the seeds into the bag. For plants with “puff” seeds like dandelion and thistle, place a bag over the head, snip it off, then release the seeds into the bag to keep them from floating away.
4. When collecting seeds from pod-bearing plants, bring along some plant shears, and cut the pod free of the plant. Place the pod into the bag, then break it open and collect the seeds. If the pods are too green, you can either wait for them to mature on the plant, or keep them in marked paper bags until they dry enough to release the seeds.
5. Paper bags are best for storing your seeds, as it will allow moisture to evaporate, and keep your seeds from rotting. When you’re sure your seeds are dry, place your baggies into a box or other container, and store them in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.