Clean Milkweed Seed with a Paper Bag!
If you're thinking about collecting and cleaning the milkweed seeds from your wildflower garden to share or sow, here's a harvesting tip. Before all that fluff tickles your nose, invades your hair or gets stuck on your sweater, grab a paper grocery bag. No need to pick seeds from downy kites. Just give them a shake.
When to Harvest:
YES! These seeds are ready to harvest. The pod has split and the seeds are dark brown.
YES! These seeds are ripe and dispersing. Fine to harvest but easier if still contained in the pod for the method described here.
NO! These seeds are not ready to harvest. The pod is still tightly closed so seeds are not ripe.
STEP 1: Hold split milkweed pod inside a paper grocery bag. Strip seeds, fluff and all into the bag. (The bag shown here is a large lunch bag. Works, but grocery size bag is preferred.)
STEP 2: Once bag is filled with fluff, roll top to close and shake vigorously. The seed will detach leaving the fluff behind. Tear off a bottom corner of the bag and pour out your clean seed.
Don't discard the fluff! Release for use by critters as a winter home lining or nests in the spring.
Winter is a great time to get milkweed seeds in the ground! You can learn more about planting milkweed here!