Saving seeds is the best way to ensure our own future food security. It enables us to provide food for our families and creates a sustainable food source.
Saving seed extends knowledge on how to nurture crops in local environments. Saving seed from the best-performing plants grown locally on home plots with their unique conditions, gradually develops varieties that are better adapted to local soil, climate, and growing practices without the need for genetic modification.
Saving seeds from herbs, fruit, and vegetables can help reduce carbon emissions by supporting and growing locally sourced food, herbs, and plants.
Saving seed protects our global plant heritage and an ecologically diverse planet.
Particular varieties of seeds are in short supply because the big corporations that we buy from are interested only in the most profitable species and hybrids of plants. This is condensing the market and allowing many unique fruit and vegetable varieties to be lost, varieties which, dependant on where you are growing them, could give you a much better product. As biodiversity declines, the chance of extinction increases.
Success in any eco-system largely depends on a certain degree of self-sufficiency. In seed saving, we effectively take control of our own supply and become far less reliant on others. Build your own supply of seeds and seed swap locally with others to increase a sustainable, small-scale, local, food supply.
Saving seeds from food plants is astonishingly simple: people have done it for thousands of years. There are any number of simple plants from which you can start collecting seeds including lettuce, kale, radish, sunflowers, and pumpkins to name a few.
The steps are easy:
- You grow your plants.
- You let some of them go to seed – that is, allow them to mature, flower, and then let the seeds ripen.
- Then you collect some seed in a paper bag or envelope on a dry day. Remember to write on the name of the seed and date collected.
- Dry the seeds in a cool, dark place to prevent moisture turning into mould which might make the seed unviable. The surrounding material, the chaff, can harbour mould, pests, or diseases so should be removed.
- Once dry, store the envelopes in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark location until the following season. Stored properly, many seed varieties can remain viable for years. The following season, you can begin the cycle again by planting your own seeds to grow your own food.
Each small step moves us forward. Seed saving is a great starting point. If we all take that first step together and become engaged in our food supply, in the plants that feed us, the collective results would be remarkable.
Threshing – means breaking seeds free from their coverings. Winnowing – the process of separating the seeds from the chaff