I’ve been preparing seed packets for our Gardener’s Fest on Sunday Sept 19 from 1 to 3PM. Thus far, I have 100 seed packets (Luffa, cantaloupe, cucumber, tomato, common milkweed, and okra). I’ll also bring three very small jujube trees; some butternut squash transplants and some blackberry transplants. All this seed packaging activity reminded me how important seed saving is and why I encourage it.
SEED SAVING -- AN IMPORTANT ROLE FOR THE GARDENER
#1 Reason: To preserve genetic diversity
Seeds have become the domain of just a few big companies. These companies focus their attention on just a few varieties of each crop. It is cost-efficient for them to focus on selling the most popular and they can more easily control their patents on a few varieties as opposed to the plethora of choices offered by nature . As farmers and gardeners stop saving seeds, we lose more and more varieties.
Losing seed diversity makes us all more vulnerable. While we love all of our open-pollinated and heirloom varieties for many reasons, like flavor, beauty, and frost resistance, just to name a few, we might also really need a variety’s particular traits someday. For example, if a variety develops a vulnerability to a blight, there are fewer and potentially no other varieties of that plant in existence to cross pollinate with.
A few years ago, Texas A&M was doing experiments with cross-pollinating of varieties of corn with Teosinte, the original plant from which all modern corn comes. Why? Because this ancient mother of all corn is highly disease resistant. If people had not been wise enough along the way to save seeds from Teosinte, this would not have been possible. As a food, Teosinte has little value to the modern human. It only has 8 to 12 kernels per ear. They are very hard. The ancient ones of Guatemala where Teosinte originated, pounded these kernels into meal which then was made into bread. A friend of mine who was working on these experiments gave me some Teosinte seed. I still have some saved. We grew it in the garden for a few years. We’ll plant some again in 2022.
Planting seeds from Plants Grown in Your Local Area are the Best!
These plants have adapted to your local climate and weather conditions and generally have a much better chance for being healthy than those from commercial seeds. By the way, save the seeds from your largest and healthiest plants as not all plants (and thus their seeds) are created equal.
Saving seeds is a good way to connect with your Loved ones.
If your parents or grandparents are avid gardeners, ask them to save seeds from plants they have grown. Growing plants from these seeds is a wonderful way to feel continuity with them for generations.
Continue your education about Seed Saving on the Internet as it abounds with related information.