Photo by Carol Norquist
As spring approaches in sunny Columbia, S.C., it is the perfect time to get your garden ready for spring. I love to have fresh flowers in my house during the spring, summer and fall, and thankfully with the beautiful weather of South Carolina, that is possible. Zinnias, Cosmos, and Mexican sunflowers are flowers that I religiously save seed from every year. I love the colors and the beauty of each variety and they easily brighten up my home in the Pinehurst Neighborhood.
Benefits of Saving Flower Seed
Land connection. The benefit of saving seeds is that it honors traditions of the land. It allows you to become an expert on seed selection and on what plant traits that you want to have year after year.
Customized beauty. You become the designer of the beauty that you want to create on your homestead, and it allows you to return to that beauty year after year.
Sustainability. By saving seeds you are also being more sustainable, allowing for the resources of your land to be resown year after year.
Community resilience. You’ll build resiliency in your community because you do not have to rely on companies or industries to supply your seed, and you can rely on the supply that you are saved year after year. As many seed companies faced seed shortages, I have comfort in the fact that I could rely on my saved seeds from the prior year, and could allow others to purchase the seeds that they needed.
How to Save Flower Seeds
The easiest flowers to save seed are zinnias, sunflowers. You want to plant the seeds into the ground in early spring after the last frost has passed. Then enjoy the flowers, and all their beauty. Let the flowers dry out naturally so that you can hand-harvest the seeds.
For zinnias, you harvest the dried flowers by hand and place the whole head of the plant in a brown paper bag to save for the next year. Make sure that each head of the flower is completely dry to avoid mold.
For sunflowers, you will need to cut off the head of the flower and let dry completely. You can tie the flowers in a bunch and let dry, then you will remove the parts of the flower head until you see the seeds of the sunflower. Harvest the seeds and store into a brown paper bag for next year.
Seed saving is act of solidarity with your community and your environment, and allows for all of us to come together around the common cause of food access. This spring, I am excited and honored to plant and honor the land of the native Natchez people. This spring will be an act of reliance and community action for growth and beauty.
April Jones is the founder of the Pinehurst Farmers Market located in downtown Columbia, S.C., in the Pinehurst neighborhood. April advocates for her community as part of the food justice and food sovereignty movement. She is passionate about community, gardens, and farmers markets. She is a writer, blogger, YouTuber and more, contributing content to her blog Frolicking Americana. Connect with April at Pinehurst Community Action on Facebook and at Pinehurst Farmers Market on Facebook. Read all of April’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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