Remember when we went to the nursery earlier the year, and carrot and basil seeds were sold out!
Did you notice how some of your plants did really well, but some that you felt you treated well just didn't? For me it was the hot peppers, it wasn't a good year for them.
For a more consistent, reliable, diverse and stable crop HERE, the answer is seed saving. There are so many reasons to. According to regenerationinternational.org, "90 percent of the crop varieties grown 100 years ago are already gone" - because in the industrial model it is more profitable for large companies to sell higher quantities of less varieties. It is less work for them to make 50 seed bags of carrots than 10 bags of 5 different varieties, and so our reliance on large producers has decreased the number of different varieties available. Also, these varieties that are available have been selected to perform well across the whole region. This 'mostly good everywhere' model, really makes them extremely good nowhere. And monotonous. Do we really only want to eat the same 10 vegetables all year long!?
So, when you save your own seeds you have security that you don't have to depend on supply chains, you can choose plants that are best adapted to your climate and soil, and you have the ability to maintain more diversity in your garden.
If you need proof that it works, I planted cherry tomatoes from seeds I saved last year next to West Coast Seeds cherry tomatoes; the seeds I saved produced twice as many tomatoes and they were ready a full week earlier with the cooler weather we had this year. This is really a terrible picture, neither of these plants liked the pot that they were in, but can you see that the plant on the left has more tomatoes and they are already turning orange? This picture was taken around July 5, and those cherry tomatoes from last years garden were the first ones ready this year!
It is easy to forget the garden at this time of the year- it looks as if it isn't really producing any more. However, take one last look- find the plants that did really well, and look for their seeds. You will be amazed at the shapes, sizes, colors, and types of seeds. It's a treasure hunt, that leads to a better garden next year!
Lastly, the Stewardship Pemberton Society has a seed library for Pemberton! They are holding on to varieties that have been selected to work well here in Pemberton- and they are free and available as an act of solidarity. They are always looking for seed donations to keep up the stock, so if you have too many seeds or don't actually want them for next year, give them to someone else, and of course, when Spring comes, find the seed library and grab some local seeds. Whenever you grab some seeds though, remember to bring some back! Together, we can become stronger, more resilient, and of course it is extremely satisfying to plant seeds that you saved yourself!
Here at Nurture in Nature, we are working to save enough seeds that a large quantity of our plant sale next year is Pemberton Varietals. If you want to learn more about seed saving, we have a large garden to practice in, and even a day devoted to seed saving coming up, Sept 26th! If you join in, you will learn about saving seeds and get to take some home with you. These are flowers and herbs from seeds we saved last year, what vairetals do you want?