Taking Root #45

Taking Root
Save Your Garden Seeds for so Many Reasons
By Gini Bramlett

Recently, an acquaintance asked me if the food alliance had ever considered teaching a class on seed saving. She’d told me she had made a few attempts, but hadn’t been too successful. Her question gave me food for thought. Since most of my garden friends and I save our vegetable seeds to one degree or another, a class sounded like a good idea.
There are various reasons to save your own seeds rather than buying from the store, online, or through catalogues. The most obvious reason is economics. Good quality garden seeds are becoming more expensive all the time, and if your garden is fairly large, that can add up to a big chunk of change every spring.

Retaining control of your food supply is another good reason since it ensures independence from large commercial seed companies who, over the decades, have invested very little energy on heirloom and open polluated varieties – the very ones that can be saved from year to year.

The main five commercial seed producers focus on hybridization that produce new types that cannot be saved from year to year, consequently fostering our dependence on them for our seed supply from season to season. Do we want to relinquish our control of the food supply to a major corporation? I think not.
Most varieties being developed today are for large commercial food companies, which limits what is available commercially for both large farms and home gardens. Thousands of varietal heirloom and open pollunated varieties are becoming more scarce as time progresses, except for a handful of privately owned businesses whose mission is to save seed types that have withstood the test of time, sometimes for hundreds of years.

Saving varieties that are acclimated to our own climate zones from year to year are something else to think about. Seeds hardy for your climate is a good way to ensure success in gardening where we live no matter what happens.

One of the biggest reasons to save your own seed is that the seed industry is continuing to place more and more restictions on farmer’s and gardener’s rights to save seed. The industry is using licencing agreements, variety patenting and restricted lists to keep control of the seeds. There is even such a thing as “Terminator Technology, now in its developmental stage, that would render commercial seeds sterile so that gardeners like us would be beholding to the seed industry. Not a pretty picture.
That being said, saving your own seeds, planting open pollunated or heirloom seeds which are true and can be saved from year to year, not only saves us money, but preserves our seed saving rights and prevents enforced dependence on the commercial seed industry.

If you are interesting in learning about how to save your own seeds by attending a free short workshop, contact me on Facebook. If enough are interested, this could happen.
Brownsville Thursday Market

The market is going strong with more vendors all the time. Come and shop locally to support growers in our local communities and to eat healthy, mostly organic freshly harvested produce.
This week: Walla Walla sweets, leeks, homemade boysenberry hand pies, lettuce, handmade soaps, zucchini, early tomatoes, homemade boysenberry and raspberry jams, blueberries, plums, peaches and always a few surprises.

The market is held Thursdays from 3-7 p.m. at the corner of Main and Park streets.

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