A number of heirloom seed companies are easily accessible. We prefer Diggers, but there are also some great varieties available from Eden Seeds and The Lost Seed company. Once you grow a plant from their heirloom seeds you can save the seed and grow them again the following season.On Saturday afternoon we went to a Seed Saving workshop held by Sustainable Communities of SA.
The workshop was led by Vivian Curro and Pat Wundersitz who are both experienced seed savers and gardeners. The Unley Council provided a grant to support a series of workshops designed to help the local community grow more of its own food. We will also be attending a workshop on October 11: propagating from cuttings and perennial food plants. We received some Diggers seeds for attending which was a nice touch.
The great advantage of seed saving is that the plants you grow from season to season adapt to your own garden conditions. This means they grow better and produce more. They are also more likely to be pest resistant.
The most important seed saving rule is to save seeds from the best plants and to eat the rest. Viv suggested tying coloured thread around the best plants or pods as a reminder.
It’s important to only save seed from non-hybrid plants; these are commonly referred to as heirloom, heritage, or open pollinated plants. They are the plants most likely to produce offspring – in the form of seed – that closely resemble their parents.
A number of heirloom seed companies are easily accessible. We prefer Diggers, but there are also some great varieties available from Eden Seeds and The Lost Seed company. Once you grow a plant from their heirloom seeds you can save the seed and grow them again the following season.
Seeds saved from Hybrid plants will not grow true to type, if they grow at all. Most are bred using “terminator” technology so are sterile. Even scarier is the fact that if you save Monsanto’s genetically engineered seeds they can sue you! Hybrid seeds and seedlings are commonly found in big name hardware and garden stores.
Most seeds are dry. To save them it is simply a case of removing them from their pods or flower and storing them somewhere cool and dry to maximise future germination. When it comes to fleshy seeds such as tomatoes or cucumber you need to rinse or soak the seeds and then allow them to dry on paper towels.
Viv keeps her seeds in little jars; a great idea as I have heaps stored in the shed!
For more information on seed saving here is a list of some really good sites on the net.
An Adelaide group – Hills and Plains seed savers – have some great how to videos.
And this is also a very good video from Heirloom seed savers in America.
It was good to see so many interested gardeners attending the workshop.