It’s time to collect wildflower seeds to plant and provide a banquet for our native bees, butterflies and other pollinators. I mostly use the seeds for seed balls or package them as free promotional items to encourage pollinator conservation at talks or events but they can also be sown and grown under lights or in cold frames to kick start their growth before planned planting.
I like to snap or cut the mature seed heads into a bucket. After letting the ants and other little critters that might be in there crawl out, I transfer the seeds to paper bags or envelopes where they will undergo dehiscence or dry out and split to release their seeds. The paper bag allows air circulation thus preventing mold. If you plan to hold the seeds into spring and grow them yourself be mindful that some seeds like many milkweeds require cold stratification before germinating and require refrigeration in a mix of horticultural sand and water.
Eco-School students and Green Clubs can collect and package seeds, craft a marketing plan and sell seeds as part of a schoolyard habitat fundraiser!
Citizen Science participants can collect milkweed seeds to send to Monarch Watch for their Bring Back The Monarchs Conservation initiative!
David Alexander is author of the Buzz Into Action & Hop Into Action Science Curricula. He specializes in making nature accessible to people and wildlife. You can follow him at www.natureintoaction.com