There are many reasons to begin saving seeds on your farm or from your garden. The most obvious one is monetary. Seed saved is seed you don’t need to purchase next year. A step of independence!
Another advantage is taste. To save seed you must use open-pollinated seeds. These tend to be the older, heirloom varieties. Translate that into “taste good”! Many plants today have been bred for shipping, storage and long shelf life with nary a thought as to taste. This explains the tomatoes from the grocery store….they look great….but they taste like cardboard. They have been bred to have tougher skins, to be able to ship long distances and have a long shelf life….but they have lost taste. The heirloom varieties are what grandma and grandpa use to grow, they taste wonderful, have those delightful names (I know there is a story behind each one!), and will reproduce true to what you planted.
By using open-pollinated seed, you are also assuring yourself that you will avoid genetically-engineered seed…..something you definitely want to avoid!! I’ll speak to this in depth on another day.
We have learned on our seed saving journey that there is a much more profitable reason to save seed from your own plantings. God has designed a marvelous thing in a seed! When you plant a seed and grow it on your own place, it “learns” about it’s microclimate. It learns about your pest problems, your growing conditions, your weather, your disease problems… and all of this information is passed on to the seeds that this plant produces.
The next year your plant will be a little stronger, a little more disease resistant and a little more tolerant of your local weather. That information will again be placed in the seeds by God’s great design! Consequently, if you keep saving seeds, each year your plants become more resistant to the pest and disease problems you have, more tolerant to your weather and your growing conditions. You will actually be producing plants in the future that are designed just for your farm…super plants! Isn’t God’s design an amazing thing….it just takes my breath away!
So, what more could you ask for? Plants that are specifically designed to grow, produce, thrive and set fruit…. and to do it better on your farm than any other place on earth!
Do we save all of our own seed? No, not at all. But each year we try to save a little more.
We do save our bean, okra, tomato (some not all), herb (some not all), tomatilla, squash, zuchinni and pepper seeds. Hopefully next year we will add a few more. I also attend seed swaps at local garden clubs – a great way to get seeds that have been grown in your own region.
To learn more about saving seed I recommend the book Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth.
This book will take you through all the steps so that you can begin saving seed from your own plantings. Also visit www.seedsavers.org to learn more about saving seed. Remember to buy open-pollinated seed, you can’t save seed from a hybrid plant.
Some of my favorite places to shop for seed:
www.rareseeds.com, www.fedcoseeds.com, www.groworganic.com, www.seedsavers.org,