I was reading through other KinderGardens blogs the other day, and came across this sweet post from Mommy Topics where she talks about how as a "silly city girl" she was surprised that when she went to plant her garden, the pea seeds were just dried up peas, the pumpkins seeds were just... pumpkin seeds, and the sunflower seeds were plain ol' sunflower seeds. I had to laugh, but not at her. No, I remember quite well when I was surprised by the same thing when I started planting my first garden. I, too, remember that light bulb moment when I finally understood why they called it the "birds and the bees" talk. I should've been about eleven when I figured that out. I was twenty three.
What I'd like to know is how on earth did any of us manage to graduate elementary school without this basic knowledge? And sadly, I think you could ask most people what a pea seed looks like and they'd probably be stumped. We all know that plants come from seeds, but most people just figure seeds come from little Burpee packets in the store. Until I started gardening, I always did.
That's the beauty of home school. Seeds are no longer a mystery in our house.
Last year, we saved lettuce, pumpkin, marigold and sunflower seeds. We planted all but the pumpkin (ran out of room), and this year we're seeing the circle completed as each of those seeds is now a thriving plant in the garden.
This year, we're adding spinach seeds to our repertoire.
It's something of an adventure to see how each plant matures and goes to seed, and collecting seeds is different for each type of plant.
There are certainly more efficient ways of seed saving (rather than scattering dried leaves and chaff everywhere) but doing it this way makes it possible for even the Littlest One to get involved.
If you're interested in saving seeds from heirloom vegetables in your garden, there are plenty of books and internet guides on the subject. And, come next spring, you can give your Small Ones some colored pencils and envelopes, then fill the envelopes with seeds they saved themselves - they make a lovely May Day gift!