Gathering Seed from the Prairie

This yellow blanket flower was the object of one of our recent collection efforts.

I’ve been busy lately collecting seed from prairie remnants near the University of West Alabama.

The harvested seed will be planted at the Black Belt Garden there in a site that will be established as a prairie garden.

I am working with Sam Ledbetter, the Manager of the Black Belt Garden and with Marc Pastorek of Meadowmakers in this venture.

We have recently been focusing mostly on harvesting native grass seed.

Last week, however, we found a wonderful stand of yellow gaillardia or blanket flower (Gaillardia aestivalis var. aestivalis) and collected seed using Marc’s hand held machine.

I’ve decided to post photos of the collection process here.


This plant has been in bloom around Sumter county since May so most plants now have more red puffy seed clusters than flowers.

Marc is using his weed-eater type machine to collect the seed.

Here's Marc displaying his seed haul.

On closer inspection you can see that there are seeds of other companion plants in the mix.

The seed will be air dried and planted in November.

FYI, Marc’s machine is a Prairie Habitats Hand Held Seed Harvester.   Click on the link if you want to see more about how it works.

There is margin for error with this machine.  The operator has to be able to recognize the seed heads of desirable plants and undesirable plants.  Since Marc is able to do this, he can avoid harvesting invasive weeds that may be growing nearby.

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5 Responses to“Gathering Seed from the Prairie”

  1. yardflow says:

    I’m psyched about the project too, Valerie. I have found some really beautiful collection sites in the county. When we harvested the site in the pictures we were just barely ahead of the mowers.

  2. yardflow says:

    Robby, at one point I thought someone at UWA was writing a grant to get one. Although Marc says it is hard on the back.

  3. Valerie says:

    So excited about this great project!

  4. marc says:

    Robbie, the machine makes the heat hotter

  5. Robby says:

    I wish I had a harvester like that when I was collecting seeds by hand in 100 degree heat!

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