Gardening and seed saving are like “peas and carrots.” I’m often puzzled about why there aren’t more seed savers in our gardening ranks. I’m not talking about anything extravagant. Why don’t more people save their own seed? Though there are more reasons to do it, I’d like to present three really good reasons for gardeners to become seed savers. The first is really obvious:
Seed saving enables a gardener to be more frugal.
Frugality is good. It doesn’t have to mean that a person is stingy, only careful with resources. Seed saving is a natural collerary to gardening frugality. Here’s an example: in 2007 I first decided to try the Sioux tomato in my garden. A friend I met on a gardening forum ordered some seed and offered to split the packet with me. I met him at work, only a few miles away, and we split the seed packet, each having more than enough seed for our needs and effectively cutting our cost by half. “So,” you might ask, “what’s that got to do with seed saving?” Not much, what followed is what has to do with seed saving.
I saved seed and have grown Sioux almost every year since, without the need to purchase seed or plants. With a simple knowledge of how to process tomato seed, I spent about $1.25 to get a new variety and have grown it for about 17 years!
Gardening and Seed Saving enable a Gardener to be more Generous.
Continuing with the illustration of the Sioux tomato. Over the last 17 years I have probably given away hundreds of Sioux seeds and transplants. I could do this because I produced my own. All it cost me was a few minutes of work. One thing I try to do is grow my varieties in blocks, and in quantity, so I can pick a pail of tomatoes and process them for canning or cooking, saving seed, as I process just one kind of tomato at a time. Green Country Seed Savers is a group which seeks to help people to save seed, and share. When a group of seed savers get together, gifts of seeds abound!
Seed Saving Opens Up a World of Variety I Wouldn’t Otherwise Access.
Through seed saving one often develops connections by which special seeds and plant materials become available which otherwise would not. For example, as a member of the Seed Savers Exchange I have access to the collections of thousands of people all over the world. Even if I tried, I could never grow everything available to me!
Because I save money by saving seeds, I am also willing to spend more for that “special seed.” This year, for instance, I spent over $14 to get a single packet of squash seed from France. I’m willing to do that because I’ll probably be able to reproduce that seed and be the first in North America with that variety!
How Can One Learn to Be A Seed Saver?
One way to start is to read about it. Here’s a great reference work on seed saving:
Forums, such as Green Country Seed Savers have participants who can encourage and give advice on seed saving.
Finally, any gardening course in Homesteading Edu will include basic seed saving/propagation techniques for the given crop.