Heirloom Seeds Part 1: The Importance of Seed Saving & How to Select The Best Seeds
Seed saving might seem like a fun, frugal and gardening thing to do but its so much more important than that. In the face of dwindling agricultural biodiversity, saving open pollinated seeds might just save the worlds food supply some day. Keeping your own seeds is an important part of being food secure. Don't just take my word for it though, the existence of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault speaks volumes!
Nature provides seeds that adapt to our climate continuously, free of charge. It's been tried and true for thousands of years. The bees love it. The birds love it. We should treasure Heirloom seeds.
If you are new to seed saving, it might seem a bit daunting but I assure you, nature has for the most part made it quite easy. This post is the first in a series on seeds. In this series we'll cover everything from the importance of seeds, how to save seeds, how to start seeds, correct storage and so much more!
First lets talk about types of seeds
Not all seeds are created equal and to demonstrate this I am going to talk about "heirloom seeds" and Genetically Modified "hybrid" seeds.
Heirloom seeds are like the open source version of software - free to trade - free to save - free to grow. Heirloom seeds create natural diversity within plant populations. This means that the seeds that you plant will adapt to the growing conditions of your garden. Year after year the seeds that you save will become stronger and more reliable in your climate. This is why you can find 5000+ varieties of heirloom tomatoes.
Hybrid seeds are often advertised as being tough, resistant to common diseases and other things that sound pretty good to a gardener. The issue is that in nature, these seeds would not exist. Smart people in a laboratory have scientifically and genetically modified these seeds. This often involves crossing species in a Frankenstein like manner to achieve the desired result. There aren't many varieties to choose from which is why you'll find such a small selection of vegetables at your grocery store. These seeds are patented and it's illegal for farmers to save seed. If you did save these seeds the results are said to be unreliable because of all of the generic alterations. The GMO model contradicts nature and the free spirit of seeds.
Where to Find Heirloom Seeds
Look for open pollinated, or heirloom seed suppliers on-line. I have put together on Walkerland for Canadian Heirloom Seed Suppliers organized by province. Talk to gardeners in your area and see if you can get some seeds from them. If they are anything like me they'll have all kinds of seeds to give to you. You can also call the local library or farmers market and find out if there are any local seed exchanged coming up.
Next we'll talk about selecting the best seeds for your climate and starting seeds indoors because spring is coming! :)
Building a greener, more beautiful world one seed at a time.
Homesteading | Gardening | Frugal Living | Preserving Food| From Scratch Cooking|
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