Dandelion seeds (achenes) can be carried long distances by the wind. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Seeds are everywhere,
flying by us, drifting on the side of the road, feeding wildlife, drying and
burying themselves again. And I am still struck with wonder at the power in those dormant little stones. They are a generous reminder of the continuity of life, and hope even when it’s dormant. They are one of the best things in life, and indeed they can be free. I am reminded of that each year when volunteer tomatoes, arugula, basil, strawberries surprise me without warning and produce a decent fruit.
So this year I purchased only seeds which were not genetically modified, for various reasons but mostly because GMO seeds often don’t produce in the next life. I always think there must be some paranoid farmers messing with our produce to insure that we won’t take that big watermelon home and make baby watermelons. But perhaps not so paranoid after all, that’s just what I’d do, being the penny pinching watermelon-poor person that I am. So my non GMO mostly heirloom seeds have succeeded nicely, and I have the opportunity to harvest the seeds for us and for seed bombs, and to exchange with with neighbors. So if you’re also interested, here is some information and links below to get you started.
- Not all seeds are alike. I like to imagine how beat up a seeds needs to get before it ready to use–what’s it like in the wild? They need to dry out, some of them need a good freeze, some of them need darkness, most like to soaked for just before planting, and the masochistic ones, like those tortured little Blue Bonnet seeds need a scratch or cut. Called seed scarification, I imagine it’s another brilliant way seeds evolved with eaters and scratchers hounding them. And what are heirloom seeds, or why does everybody want to eat those ugly bulbous expensive tomatoes anyway? Heirlooms are cool for several reasons, they are old, non modified, tried and true seeds.
- They are seeds which have endured the hardships people faced before they had sprinklers, fancy fertilizers, pesticides, and the like.They have GRIT!
- And so you don’t have to waste your hard earned cash on those chemical either
- And, you also get a lot more seed selection.
- Another thing is that they will grow in an environment most conducive to their survival rather than flourishing in places where they don’t belong. That leads to things like Potato Famines and stuff like that.
- And can find plants to suit your personal taste, such as my love for tiny tart tomatoes, little yellow Blondkomphchen tomato, and little round Korean Eggplants (OK I know what’s up with my palette for little things, weird)
For the most part I’m fairly lazy, and just prefer to cut when dry, place in a freezer bag and refrigerate till needed. In fact I did that yesterday driving past a gathering of brown dry Queen Anne’s Lace. And over there, those are my Nicholas sunflowers which I dry out and toss in a bag till next Spring. But a little research for those plants you LOVE is worth the effort. And of course it’s always good to consider the environment your planting where you’re planting. They could become unwelcomed neighbors. (see Potato Famine again).
A couple great places to start are:
The international Seed Saving Institute: http://www.seedsave.org/issi/issi_904.html
You Grow Girl: http://www.yougrowgirl.com/2002/10/04/harvesting-seeds/
But my super fav where I started, and it’s also where I purchased my first heirloom Non GMO seeds: http://www.seedsavers.org/
Or like me, if you’re interested in first looking through some seed catalogs to begin your wish collection, you’d enjoy this website which allowed me to order 20 (but up to 60) seed catalogs which are packed full of lot’s of extra information about planting, growing, and harvesting. (I keep my catalogs for years since their like little botanical encylopedias). It’s a wonderful way to spend a cold winter weekend planning for the Spring! But keep in mind not all of those offered are heirloom or GMO free. Choose what’s best for you.
And if you get hooked, you’ll find that there are seed exchanges. It just altogether a wonderful cycle of things.
So I wish you the best in the harvest and cultivation of your biological jewels. Have fun, and please let me know what you learn…..