Here in our apartment in Berlin, we currently only have a limited number of plants growing. I’ve managed to keep a store-bought basil plant alive in our kitchen window for the last few weeks, which feels like a huge accomplishment since it seems that most store-bought herb plants are doomed to expire within a week of bringing them home. The last few days, it is has been extremely hot and sunny here, and my basil has started to flower and will soon be producing seeds. Which got me to thinking about why saving seeds is so great and why everyone should be doing it!
- Save a fortune in seeds — If you’re like me, you LOVE pouring over new seed catalogs each year and dreaming about what could soon be growing in your garden — and gracing your dinner plate! But sometimes the prices in the catalogs are enough to turn you off of gardening for while, especially if you go for organic or non-GMO seeds. But if you start saving your own seeds, you’ll never have to invest in seeds again, unless you are looking to expand your varieties. But do make sure when you purchase your seeds that they come from a reputable source that is not treating them with chemicals which prevent the seeds of the plants from becoming viable.
- Easy to do — Yes, there are a few types of seed that are more difficult to harvest than others, but if you are a fan of tomatoes (like myself) there is absolutely no reason in the world why you need to buy package after package of tomato seeds every year. Saving seeds from tomatoes you grow and eat is very simple and even fun. Bell peppers, pumpkin, zucchini, and most herb and flower seeds are also quite simple to harvest.
- Preserve heirloom varieties — Saving seeds is not quite as prominent as it once was, which is why organizations like the Seed Savers Exchange have become more and more important. If we want to have any chance of maintaining native plant varieties and keeping genetically modified crops out of our gardens, saving and obtaining seeds from heirloom sources is essential.
- Great gift for gardening friends — Perhaps I’m the only one, but I love getting seeds as gifts. If you save your own seeds, you can create wonderful Christmas, birthday and even home warming gifts for friends and family that they can appreciate for months and years to come. You can also use your own seeds to create seed bombs which can be spread throughout your community, or seed gifts can be created for wedding favors.
- Seeds will create plants better adapted to your location — Seeds that are produced in your area will naturally develop a better tolerance to the growing conditions around them. Usually it will take a few generations to get plants that are truly adapted to your area. But everything that produces well in your area this year should be an ideal candidate to harvest from for next year’s garden.
- Eliminate hybrids from your garden — There are many seed catalogs that seem to focus solely on hybrids which may or may not allow you to grow anything from the seeds of those fruits. Hybrids aren’t all bad, and many of them have been around for decades. But many hybrids being developed today focus purely on increasing yield and creating uniform fruits, which does not always equal delicious food on your table.
- Promote genetic diversity without GMO influences — Genetically modified crops have become more and more of a problem in recent years, with some of the crops becoming more invasive and difficult to control each year. I like to keep my garden as natural, organic and pure as possible, which means no GMO seeds in our garden. It also keeps us from giving any support to the large corporations like Monsanto who try to force all of us to grow only their seeds which will not bear “live” seeds going forward, making us all more and more dependent on those companies going forward.
Do you save seeds? What are your favorite plants to save seeds from? Or do you feel that saving seeds is better left to the pros?