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Make Your Own Seed Catalogs

August 29, 2014

As the end of the summer harvest season draws near, it’s time to think about what your family can do to prepare for next year’s growing season.  One fun way to involve children in the delightful cycle of home gardening is to allow them to help you save your seeds!  Seeds from homegrown fruits and vegetables are easy to save, and you’ll be able to enjoy fresh produce next year without having to buy all new seeds. Most seeds are simple to save, as long as you dry them completely. Your children can help to scoop the seeds from your fruits and veggies or help you wash them and lay the seeds out to dry! Remember that hybrid seeds cannot be saved but open-pollinated seeds can.  Some examples of open-pollinated seeds include heirloom tomatoes, peppers and peas. To learn about how to save them, read our blog post here.

If the seeds you have are a bit more complicated to preserve follow this link here, which has detailed instructions for a budding seed-saver.  

Seed PacketsAnother way to engage your children is in the botanical side of seed saving. Have them compare and contrast the shapes, sizes and textures of different seeds.  After some discussion, prompt them to see if they can identify seeds or ask them to describe the differences between a tomato seed and a pepper seed.

Designing seed envelopes is also a fun, artistic activity for kids that gets them more involved in the gardening process.  If your children are interested in decorating the packets, start with plain, white paper (a thicker variety will be hold up better, similar to scrapbooking paper or cardstock).  Otherwise, use whatever colored or patterned paper you would like.  After you have your paper, follow the design instructions here

seeds in envelopeCome next spring, a great way to see if your seeds are still viable (able to grow) is to make seed necklaces, a fun craft we often do here at Phipps! Simply have your children take a seed, wrap it in a piece of a moist paper towel (about one square inch) and enclose the entire seed in a small Ziploc bag.  They can then poke a hole through the bag (or an adult can poke the hole for the little ones!)  Next, thread a piece of yarn, string or ribbon through the bag.  Once the necklace is completed, tie it loosely around the child’s neck.  The heat from their body and the dampness of the paper towel will cause a viable seed to germinate! If this seed germinates, the others in the same packet or group likely will as well.

If you decide to try out saving your seeds, send a picture of your family and their seed-saving activities to homegrown@phipps.conservatory.org

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