Friday, March 4, 2016

Seed Saving

I'll admit it.  I have them everywhere.  Stuffed into the box my amaryllis bulbs came in.  In a reusable canvas bag.  In a padded manila envelope.  Then just yesterday, I discovered a huge bag in the back of my garage...

I need to organize my seeds!

February was a whirlwind of birthdays, time with my daughter, both of us sick at different times, art show preparations, scientific inquiry, and of course my regular "job".  I returned to work after a Family Sick Day taking care of my coughing little one, checking how the sub had left things and prepping for the day, squeezing in a meeting and morning duty before my first two classes.  When I went back to the office, I found I had received a package.  What is this, I wondered?  I couldn't remember ordering anything except the wheat grass I just planted this evening in a clam-shell salad container as micro greens and a stream macro-invertebrate science kit generously funded by the Barrington Land Conservation Trust I happily dissected Wednesday that my third grade Eco-Warriors will use this April in collaboration with eighth graders visiting from a nearby school.  

I  brought the box back to my room.  I had 15 minutes before my next class arrived and I hastily cut a watermelon, pea pod, corn, and bean to show the kindergartners different foods that contained seeds that they would be cutting out and drawing seeds onto with crayon.  It was a shape lesson (circles, ovals, and semi-circles, with "bean" shapes the challenge of the week) and a science lesson (plants have different parts; which parts of the plant do we eat?).  I taught the brand-new lesson, tying in with the healthy foods theme for our district in March, which followed fruit and vegetable ABC squares done with textured paper the kids made, cut, and glued, making a food that went with their letter and with help, spelling it (art and literacy).  After lining them up and getting the room clean (again), I opened the package.

A seed sorting kit!  What???

It came with this letter:

Wow.  Just wow.  I guess the word is getting out about what I'm doing.  I have more people visiting the school in the spring, one to write her thesis on school gardens including ours.  Last year, Whole Foods wrote an article about us.  Tomorrow, I'll be putting final edits on a piece for Natural Awakenings.  I recently joined RIEEA, and the resources and connections are multifold!  My mind is exploding with possibilities.  I need to breathe!  

I am so grateful, so overwhelmed by all the support!  I have many more exciting projects in the works.  

When those seeds get sorted, some will be too old to use.  I will sort some into plastic bins (found cheaply at Job Lot) for scientific study and art fun.  The first graders will be recreating Van Gogh's sunflowers and irises in collage, cutting circles, triangles, rectangles, and hearts, then folding or curling the petals and leaves for a 3-D effect.  They will also learn plant parts and glue some of those expired seeds inside their flowers.  Link to the lesson here.

Meanwhile, I have seeds to sort!


Finally sorted my seeds.  I had way too many to fit in there, but i think the average home grower should have enough room.  The velcro dividers are easy to move.  I turned some sections sideways to better fit.  They're in alphabetical order, so sunflowers are with squash.  With so many annual flowers of many names serving similar purposes, I just filed them under "flowers".  Overall, a nifty way to organize seeds for our school garden!  Thanks again, Seed Keeper Company!

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