Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Save Your Own Vegetable Seeds

Seeds are a link to the past and are essential to humanities future. Each seed now in existence was grown from previous plants creating a continual link with humanity for generations back to its wild plant ancestors. The close association and selection by different groups of people, each with different tastes and ideas of tasty cuisine have created a vast number and variety of edible plants. Many of these are disappearing and many people are more and more people are distanced from growing and saving seed for their own gardens and yards. Imagine if we suddenly did not have oil for farming. We could not drive the tractors to plant large tracts of land, cultivated, or harvest it. Vast areas of once farmed land would become barren in one year. Historically families planted gardens on their properties to supplement the grain that was harvested from the fields. Today it has become a rarity to see large cottage style gardens that were once used to produce the greens, tomatoes, squash and other vegetables that a family would eat for an entire year. Seed was saved each year and seed from exceptional plants was traded with neighbors creating highly adapted local vegetable varieties.

Today seed companies focus on selling hybrid seed, which they sell for higher prices and ensures that you will have to buy seed from them next year. Hybrids are a marketing ploy to get you to buy seed each year and keep the large seed company in business. While hybrids often have hybrid vigor and some disease resistant traits, they do not in my opinion compare to locally adapted varieties. Hybrids are created to grow well over a large region of the United States, but to not grow exceptionally well in any particular location. Locally adapted varieties are more perfectly adapted and resistant diseases through years of seed saving and selection on your property. If you can find seed sources in your area, then they are more likely to be resistant to the local fungi, diseases, and weather creating a more predictable crop.

Saving seeds is not that hard and is fun. Through the next series of posts. I'll be highlighting a few ways to start saving seeds now if you currently have a garden or know someone that does.

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