Saturday, 21 January 2017

Seed sorting....

Today, in the light of every crazy thing that is going on in the world and despite that craziness driving me to the point almost of despair, I needed something to do. I couldn't go on the women's march as I'm still on nursing duty some of the time and so I decided to organise my seed collection. 
Now my collection of seeds is quite large. I hold the seeds for Incredible Edible Bristol and for the How to Garden course I'm about to start teaching, and I am lucky enough to get sent a fair few packets by kind folk who are either donating for the beds across the city, or asking me to trial things. That said, every year we see tray after tray planted out, donated to other projects or into our allotment of garden, so they all get used! Often also we donate seeds on to new community projects, school and youth groups, early years centres and more, and so in all honesty we can never have enough!!
And of course the collection is full of little packets of seed saved by others that I am given or are swapped. Beans, achoka, giant pumpkins, 1000 headed kale....
And of course there are the seeds of little oddities. New varieties I've never seen before. Gifted heirlooms from friends across the pond. Firm favourites I grow every year.
So today I sorted them into various piles. Seeds to be donated to Bristol Seed Swap, seeds for Incredible Edible and seeds for the garden and the allotment.
Then I sorted out the seeds saved from the Incredible Edible Bristol beds into little packets. Calendula, mallow, radish, kales, poppies and more all grown and saved right here in the city. 
There's strength in saving seeds. It's a quiet power that allows us to be in control of what we grow, and to ensure plants that have done really well are saved along with their genetic make up. It means we know where our seeds come from and how they have been saved and looked after. It means we can share our successes.
Of course across the globe we are seeing more and more farmers and food producers being stopped from saving their own seed and having to buy it from agricultural giants who control not just the seed but also the varieties that they stock. The amount of varieties that were grown of all crops were huge, but now we see farmers having far fewer varieties to chose from as the large seed companies stock only what is certain to grow or what is easy to store.  In order for seeds to be sold they need to be listed with Defra, and this costs meaning that fewer and fewer varieties are listed. This makes it all the more vital to save our own seeds, particularly of heritage or heirloom varieties and to support organisations such as the Heritage Seed Library who look after varieties that are no longer sold, but who, for a yearly donation will send you a selection to both grow and save the seed of. 
So if you've never saved seed, and you feel, as I did this morning, lacking in any power to do anything about the craziness in the world, decide to save some seeds. Lots are easy to save. Fennel, beans, peas, lettuces, calendula, nigella, parsley, are all easy , and you will inevitably then have enough to grow next year and to give away to friends or at your local Seed Swap. What a great way to counteract the madness!!

1 comment:

  1. Very much liking this. Like you I've an enormous collection - I hold the cucurbit, lettuce and miscellaneous sections of an online seed parcel, plus will encourage as many people as I can to save seeds - for themselves, swaps or circles. Sharing them is one of the most satisfying things about gardening. Mini-enthuse now over, will get back in my corner...:)