Whether or not you can it believe September is in full swing and the tempo in the garden is greatly reflecting that. Days have been spent pulling up corn, and tomatoes, clearing out summer squash plants, and tearing down bean vines. Yesterday I spent 2 hours sitting on a bucket in a bean patch by myself picking seed bean off spent vines , next week I will probably do the same for another 2, 3, maybe even 4 hours. Why should you care that this is the way I’m spending my days? Because saving seed is an important aspect of building community agriculture and a significant step in working towards self sufficient locally driven food economies.
Why is saving seed so important? Well I wrote a bit more in depth about it in a post earlier this year, but some of the most important reasons for saving seed include that the practice saves money, promotes sustainable gardening, helps ensure seed that is well adapted to regional growing climates, and protects the “bank” of heirloom seeds in circulation. As many large companies take over the sale and distribution of seed to growers, crops become more genetically uniform and the risk of losing vast amounts of crops in one fell swoop of disease becomes much greater. If no one took the time to save seed we could easily loose many types of crops that we know and love and that have been passed down through many generations of small farmers and gardeners throughout the U.S.
Here are 2 videos that address that larger importance of saving seed for a healthy world:
Thankfully saving seed is quite easy!
This PDF is a great guide to saving seed from the crops of most small farms and gardens:
This link will take you to a great diagram that we came across in the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds catalog for saving tomato seeds, we as well as some of our participants have tried the method out and it works wonderfully!:
Here are 3 more organizations focused on seed saving that have some great resources:
If you are looking to get your garden started with some heirloom seed, or if you just enjoy learning about seed saving and the seeds of Appalachia attend this great annual event:
Bill Best of Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center
Seed Swap and farm tours
Saturday, October 6th
1033 Pilot Knob, Cemetery Road
Berea, KY. 40403
Find out more about SMAC at http://www.heirlooms.org/index.html