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What you need to know about seeds

From Green Right Now Reports Seed Savers Exchange offers a catalog of seed sources. Home gardens appear to be an unstoppable 21st Century trend, with people growing all types of...

From Green Right Now Reports

Seed Savers Exchange 2013Catalog_cover

Seed Savers Exchange offers a catalog of seed sources.

Home gardens appear to be an unstoppable 21st Century trend, with people growing all types of edibles at every scale, from a few patio tomatoes to a virtual truck farm of veggies in the backyard, front yard or schoolyard.

Whether this is a mass rebellion against bland grocery store produce, the product of a greener young generation and a nesting boomer contingent seeking commune with the land, we don’t know. That’s a deep subject.

But what we do know is that if you’re gardening, you have to think about seeds and possibly saving your own seeds. It’s not just because it can save you a few dollars, but now, you’ve become a picky home gourmand and you’d like to recreate your favorite spinach, patty pan squash and strawberries come next season.

Here are a few places to look for seeds:

  • Earth 911, the recycling website, just featured a definitive piece on saving seeds – Five Steps to Successful Seed Saving. Turns out saving your own seeds is a little more involved than how we’ve been doing it (growing watermelon in the flower bed where we left a slice for the butterflies last year). But it’s worth knowing the best practices, as outlined in this piece. For instance, you need to know how your plants are pollinated and make sure they’re not mixing it up (inter-breeding!) in the garden. For those who want to wade in, see the article.
Chard, five color

Five color chard, does gardening get any cooler than this?

  • Seed saving is a big enough thing that it has its own group, The Seed Savers Exchange (founded in 1975), where you can get more information. The exchange maintains a database where you can plug in a vegetable and get advice about how to save the seeds. So retro, and yet so now.
  • The next best thing to saving your own favorite seeds, is buying them from someone who really knows what they’re doing. We have two recommendations on that count. First, shop at LocalHarvest.org, where you’ll find small producers who sell many varieties of seeds. You can get organic, heirloom seeds that just aren’t available in the stores. You can buy online, or search for local producers.
  • Another seed source online is The Urban Homestead Supply & Farmstand, run by the Dervaes family, legendary urban homesteaders in Pasadena, California. The Davaes, self-described eco-pioneers who started their urban homestead in 1986, don’t mess around. They’re selling some delicious-looking, varieties, like red Dragon carrots and five-color chard. Read more about the family here, and be reassured that you’re buying quality “Freedom Seeds” tested by experts.
  • All those other seed companies. Of course there are many other places to buy seeds, like the well-known Burpee and Ferry-Morse seed retailers.  These traditional companies also are branching out into offering more organic and heirloom varieties.




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