Seed saving has been the practice of farmers and gardeners for thousands of years. Before the advent of seed companies offering seeds for sale in the 1800’s, the only way for a farmer or gardener to ensure seeds for the crops they grew was to save the seeds from a previous crop. In this way, the farmer was also able to choose the best qualities of the crop so that it performed best in the microclimate in which the crop grew.
Saving seeds is important in today’s world because heirloom and open pollinated crops provide a storehouse of important qualities and these qualities may hold the key to resistance to crop diseases and climate changes in the future. For these same reasons, seed saving is important for the small scale gardener, offering opportunities for producing high quality, great tasting, vegetables while increasing the diversity of crops available.
In this class, you will learn to save seed from crops you grow. Considerations for seed saving such as isolation distances and techniques, recommended minimum number of plants, and horticultural practices used with plants grown for seed. We’ll discuss how to ensure clean and disease-free seed. Demonstrations include common techniques used for cleaning harvested seed. Tools for cleaning small quantities of seed will be available for the demonstration.
For more information on seed saving, check out the international seed saving organization, Seed Savers Exchange, located in Decorah, Iowa.