Seed saving is not a new idea. People and cultures have been saving seeds for many, many years. Native Americans saved the seeds of the foods they grew to plant for next year’s garden, and used them as a source of trade. Historically speaking, seed saving was so important to immigrants to the US, both culturally and agriculturally, that they brought a variety of seeds lining the insides of their jackets and suitcases, and hems of dresses.
Begin this activity with a brief discussion about the importance of seed saving.
Discussion: Why is Seed Saving Important? (brainstorm a list of ideas)
Possible Answers could include: food security, culture, trade, source of income, seeds to sell to farmers and gardeners, grow food to eat…(include all reasonable answers in your discussion).
Activity: Fall is the best time of year to teach children about seed saving. It is at this time of year that the plant has reached the point in its life cycle where it produces seeds to create the next generation of plants.
- Gather seeds to save. Examples of seeds can be found in nature or can be brought in from a home garden or the farmers market. Easy sources of seeds to save include: sunflowers, squash, pumpkins and beans. Also, you could use seeds from the seed counting activity or even seeds from the seed investigation activity. These are all seeds that would be saved and planted in the spring.
- Allow seeds to dry out so they will keep. When seeds are saved they need to be dry, so laying the seeds out on a paper towel or keeping them in a paper bag for a few days will help that happen.
- Save seeds until spring time. Then plant them! Here is a good vegetable growing guide that will help you plant the seeds in the correct way. Alternatively, if you wanted to plant now, garlic could be planted.
Additional Information and Resources: Seed Savers Exchange is a good resource for information on seed saving and is a good source of seeds that have been saved. Each seed packet tells a story about that seed.
Possible Extension Activity: Investigate different seed packets from Seed Savers Exchange to learn stories about different seeds. Discover where the seeds originated, what they look like, and what type of meals the foods would be used in. Click here to apply for free seeds from Seed Savers Exchange.