By Mary Gadek
Read these books for children about harvesting plants and using the harvest to benefit nature.
Sunflower House by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt
Dakota County library, ISBN: 9780152019525
Using rhymes and beautiful illustrations, the book tells a tale of a family who plants a sunflower garden, enjoys it during the summer and then harvests the seeds to use the next year.
It’s Our Garden: From Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden Hardcover – Picture Book, by George Ancona (Author, Illustrator)
Dakota County Library, ISBN: 9780763653927
The book portrays a colorful account of a school garden throughout the growing season, including harvesting of a variety of plantings.
Harvesting Sunflower Seeds
Sunflowers are ready to harvest when they are droopy, the petals around the center are dried and the seeds are visible. The best seeds for eating come from the larger varieties of sunflowers. Just cut away the flower head from the stalk, place the flower head on a flat surface, and rub or pick at the center to dislodge the seeds from the flower, just like squirrels and birds do !
Roasted (in Shell) Sunflower Seeds
1 cup raw in-shell sunflower seeds
2 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt, or 2 Tbsp table salt*
1 quart water
Preheat the oven to 400’. Children can measure the water, salt and seeds to put in the pot, allowing an opportunity to try out some math skills. Adults and older children bring the sunflower seeds to a boil in the (salted-optional) water, then simmer for about 10-15 minutes and then drain. Children can spread out the seeds on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Roast for 10-15 minutes, checking after 10 minutes to see if the seeds are dry enough and roasted to your desired crunchiness. Enjoy!
Click here for more information about sunflowers in Minnesota
How-to instructions for making a pine cone bird feeder
Instructions for drying and storing seeds for replanting