Plan a Seed Saving Garden
How Seed Saving Can Help You Grow Better Food
This winter, as you pore over the seed catalogs and dream of next season’s garden, think about including seed saving in the harvest. By selecting seeds from plants with the best flavour, size or other desired characteristics, you can create a garden most suited your tastes and microclimate.
Starting a seed-saving garden is easy and depends on two things: 1) willingness to let your plants go to seed, rather than tidy up as soon as they bear fruit, and 2) choosing heirloom and open pollinated varieties. Open-pollinated plants grow true to type, which means that (unlike hybrids) their seeds can produce the same kind of plant as the parent.
To find seed sources appropriate to your region, get in touch with local seed savers at seed exchanges such as Seedy Saturday. When you buy, choose from small local producers and nurseries that carry heirlooms and plants adapted to your area. In time, your garden can become its own seed bank, and you’ll have a rich and reliable supply for yearly planting.
10 Reasons to Save Seeds1. Seed saving makes you more resilient. When you save seeds, you ensure your own food source.
2. Plants and seeds are always adapting. The seeds you save this year will thrive best in your microclimate.
3. Regionally adapted seeds are suited to grow where you live. Unlike commercial seed, which depends heavily on fertilizers in order to produce in various areas, seed saved in your region is uniquely compatible to your climate and soil.
4. Flowering seed plants attract beneficial insects that protect your garden.
5. Saved seeds are fun to share, and build culture as you pass favourite plants along to others.
6. If you save seeds, you won’t have to depend on seed companies or nursery hybrids (which don’t reproduce true) for next year’s plants.
7. Seed saving lets you taste and enjoy heritage fruits and vegetables. Old varieties, bred for taste (rather than the ability to withstand long truck trips), often offer superior flavour and nutrient content compared to commercial fare.
8. Growing and saving seeds of heirlooms and open-pollinated plant varieties helps preserve plant diversity. Since the 1900’s, 75 percent of genetic plant diversity has been lost worldwide as farmers planted genetically uniform commercial crops rather than native varieties.
9. Planting and preserving seed from heritage varieties helps protect against worldwide crop failures. When new diseases threaten monocrops, heirlooms offer genetic resistance to prevent widespread famine.
10. As global corporations introduce more genetically modified (GMO) plants and terminator seeds, seed saving is the most positive, hopeful, and transformative thing we can do to ensure food security and our future.
Seed Saving Resources:
Seed Saving Books:
Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth
How to Save Your Own Seeds: A Handbook for Small Scale Seed Production by Seeds of Diversity Canada
Saving Seeds as if Our Lives Depended on It by Dan Jason