Harvesting Seeds from the Garden

If your kiddos enjoy gardening as much as mine then they'll love this activity. Not only is it a fun way for all ages to explore plants & nature cycles, but it provides FREE seeds for you to plant in your garden next year! 

Way back in the Spring we planted a variety of flowers & vegetables. Some struggled at first with the unpredictable weather, but on the whole most did well & we had beautiful blooms & a good selection of food for our table. But by the middle of September our plants were beginning to produce less fruit & the flowers were fading. It would have been easy to cut the whole lot back & add it to the compost but they still had so much more to offer.

We left our ‘dead’ sunflowers for a couple of weeks for the birds & insects to enjoy before cutting them down, & leaving the heads to dry out for a couple more days. Once dry we removed any plant matter covering the seeds, & then rubbed our fingers over the seeds to remove them from the sunflower head. 

Minnie loved watching the seeds falling from the sunflower & enjoyed rubbing, pushing & tapping them out of the plant. Soon she had quite a collection & was eager to remove more from the other plants to add to her seed mountain. 

Once the seeds had been removed the dry flower heads offered some great natural textures to explore. (Check out our Lavender & Sunflower Play Dough for ideas on how to use them.)

This activity was a great way to discover seasonal changes & explore how plants produced seeds. It was also a neat reminder of how the now giant sunflowers began life only a few months ago! How awesome that there is so much life in one tiny seed!

Gardens offer many seeds that you could harvest, but I’ve focused on 4 of the easiest for children to collect. 

Our peas & beans had both produced good crops this year but towards the end of their growing season I purposely left a few pods/beans hanging on the plants to dry them out. Once they were dry we cut them down & removed the inner seeds. It was fascinating for Minnie to compare the fresh beans with the dry ones & the drastic change in their colour. She was quite surprised too to discover the shrivelled peas in the pod! 

The nasturtiums in our backyard had grown well too & spread rapidly in the flowerbed! They're a great plant for children because they are simple & quick to grow & will produce flowers for many weeks. They also produce an abundance of seeds which are easy for young children to spot & collect at the base of the plant. 

If like us you’re going to store the seeds to plant next Spring, simply add them to a clean, dry envelope & mark on the front what they are & the date.  We store our seeds in a kitchen cupboard which offers a dry, dark space... plus I wont forget where I’ve put them!!

I love that this activity offers children the opportunity to make so many connections, & gain an understanding of the rhythm of nature. Great for exploring what these plants can offer us, & also what they offer to wildlife & insects too. 

There was much excitement as these seeds were collected,
& I can't wait to find them again in Spring to see what they produce next year.
Happy harvesting!