This month . . .
Finding, Gathering, Saving Seeds
Continuing the Cycle of Life
For most of human history, people needed to save and replant seeds inorder to survive. Seeds from favorite plants were saved from year to yearand generation to generation. When people emigrated to new parts of theworld, they brought with them seeds from plants with qualities they valued:the tastiest tomatoes, longest beans, or squash that withstood coldtemperatures, for instance.As fall weather spells changes in many schoolyards, consider encouragingyour students to become savvy seed savers by identifying and gatheringtheir own gems from the garden or wild. Why bother? Saving seeds can beeconomical (you might generate hundreds from just one plant) and inspirestudents to explore, firsthand, plants' life cycles and clever adaptations forhousing and dispersing seeds. Your young growers can cultivateconnections with others by packaging their unique seeds for gifts or sale,or swap seeds and experiences with students in other growing classrooms.Math, economics, language arts, and more can come to life in astudent-run seed business.Your young stewards might also delve into some of the historical andecological reasons people today save seeds. With the growth ofcommercial seed companies during the last century, new varieties werecreated, but many old ones vanished. These lost strains had qualities thatpeople savored
contained a wealth of potentially valuable geneticinformation. Students might want to learn about, and perhaps join thegrowing movement of gardeners and farmers committed to preservingbiodiversity and living history by growing and saving "heirloom" seeds.
flat surfaces (e.g., trays or screens) for drying seeds
envelopes and glass jars for storage
hand lenses (optional)
markers and/or labels
small paper bags (for gathering small seeds)
1. Reviewing the Basics (Seed Production 101)
Pg. 1: Saving Seeds
Pg. 2: Curriculum Connections
Finding, Gathering, Saving Seedshttp://www.kidsgardening.com/growingideas/projects/aug04/pg1.html (1 of 5) [8/17/2004 10:06:11 AM]