Nothing gets us more excited than growing food and medicine in our local spaces, allotments, community gardens and growing spaces are our favourite places to be. We know the impact the plants and herbs have on our health and so our passion for planting grows with each season. Growing your own food and medicine brings about a sense of creative freedom and freedom from the system. The ability to whip up any potion you please. You only have to put in the time and care to make it so.
Watching the small green babies transform into vegetables and fruits and sprigs of aromatic herbs is something to behold. For those of you that know this joy, you can attest to the level of happiness that it brings, nourishing the soul just as much as it satisfies our bellies and combats our ailments. It inspires us year after year, and we hope to share this motivational, healing dance with the land with all who want to learn.
Every seed holds a connection to the future and the past. From our cucumber seeds that grandma Jarmila saved herself from a crop that passed to us, to the tomato seeds that our neighbour Matt gifted us last season, to the rogue poppy plant that we’ve saved the incredible and beautiful seed heads from and have passed on to our son Harry for his garden. Where in turn his own kids will collect future seed heads the stories of seeds connect us to our history, our culture, our family, and our sense of who we are.
Seed saving and seed sharing go hand-in-hand with community, friendship and sustainability. Sharing with our neighbours, helping the community gardens to become more self-sufficient, or taking new gardeners under our wings and teaching them how to save their own seeds all brings a sense of satisfaction, pleasure and achievement strengthening connection to people and planet.
To save seeds is to preserve food culture. Heirloom crops, are vegetables and fruit, that existed before commercial varieties and wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the gardeners who meticulously grew and saved seeds.
Seed-saving is relatively easy, there are just a few key bits of information you need to know
One key thing before you start – you can’t save seed from F1 (hybrid) varieties. You need real, open-pollinated seed.
Not all plants flower, set seed, and die in a single growing season. Those that do, like lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers, are called annuals. Biennials, such as carrots and onions, don’t flower until their second growing season, after they have gone through a cold period. Some long-lived plants, like apple trees and asparagus, are perennial, surviving and flowering for many years.
Some crops like peas, beans, lettuce and tomatoes great for beginning seed savers. These annual, self-pollinating crops require little to no isolation, and only a few plants are needed to reliably produce seeds.
Seeds are happiest when they are stored in a cool, dark, and dry place. A dark closet in a cooler part of the house or a dry, cool basement are both good spaces to store seeds for a year or two. Once properly dried, seeds can also be sealed in airtight containers and stored in the refrigerator or freezer for several years. The seeds of some crops are naturally longer lived.
Don’t forget to label your seeds
For more information on seed saving please see
“The Seed Savers Handbook” Jeremy Cherfas, (Grover Books, 1996)