Take a Child Outside

Saving Seeds

  • Tuesday, September 29, 2020

It's Take a Child Outside week! Each day, a new activity will post on the event calendar to inspire your family with ideas and activities to get outside together.

Fall is a great time to go on a seed hunt. All those flowers from the summer that were pollinated have now turned into seeds waiting to become new plants.

zinnia seeds

Those seeds are just need a good spot and the right conditions to burst open and grow a new plant. You can help them by collecting them and planting them next spring!

First, go for a walk around your garden and look for any flowers that have faded or vegetables that might have set fruit. You will want to leave these on the plants for as long as you can. Some plants that are easy to collect seeds from are sunflowers, zinnias, marigolds, peppers, peas, and herbs like cilantro and fennel.

When there is a sunny, dry day, gather the seeds from the plant by picking the flowers or the fruits. You'll need to do a little hunting in the flowers to find the seeds. For sunflowers, you can break apart the head to find the seeds hidden deep in the flower. For marigolds and zinnias, you'll need to pull off any remaining dried flower petals to find the seeds hiding behind them. For cilantro and fennel, you might want to place a container under the seed heads and shake or break them off into the container. Fruits like peppers need to be cut open and the seeds scooped out. As you collect seeds, make sure to keep each plant's seeds labeled and separate from any other plant seeds you are collecting.

If your seeds seem to be moist or damp, bring them inside and leave them on a paper towel or newspaper to dry. Seeds need to be completely dry before storing them.

While you're waiting for them to dry, you can make fun seed envelopes and decorate them. If you have extra seeds, you can share with your neighbors and friends! Here's a quick how-to on making seed envelopes from paper you have at home.

If you want to learn more about seeds, take a look at Ms. Joy's virtual garden storytime, Planting the Wilder Garden.

Post some of your family's artwork and use the tag #TakeAChildOutside and #JCRA so you can share with us what you are doing this week with your families.

Take a Child Outside, September 24–30

An initiative of The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and inspired by Richard Louv's book Last Child in the Woods, Take a Child Outside week was founded to help connect children with nature.

Visit the Museum's Web site to find out more about this annual week and other locations to go explore the outdoors with your children.

All Ages.
Please contact Elizabeth Overcash, children's program coordinator, at elizabeth_overcash@ncsu.edu for more information about this program.