Our visit to Seed Saver's Exchange and Home Garden Seed Saving Tips
Doug and I just got back from an inspiring trip out to Seed Saver’s Exchange in Decorah, IA; an oasis of diversity and independence surrounded by miles of genetically engineered corn and soy as far as the eye can see.
John Torgrimson, their Executive Director, graciously invited us to participate their 32nd annual conference. I gave one of the keynote addresses, a workshop on seed libraries, and participated in a panel on community seed saving. We also brought our Art of the Heirloom exhibit and hung the works in their beautiful barn. Everyone was so welcoming and enthusiastic about what we’ve accomplished so far with the Hudson Valley Seed Library- especially the Art Packs. Seed savers are truly generous people.
SSE’s collections and facilities are very impressive. It felt like we had been beamed up to the seed mothership! It was rejuvenating to be surrounded by so many other caring gardeners. We toured SSE’s preservation and commercial production gardens, met with their librarian, took workshops, and shared seed stories with many others.
Now, back at our own seed farm, we feel even more dedicated to preserving and developing regional seeds. We hope that you will be helping with this important effort by growing our seeds, coming to our events, and saving some seeds to return to the library this fall. It’s not hard to do!
Some of the easiest seeds to save are peas and beans. Just let some continue to ripen on the plants until the pods are dry. Collect the seeds and put them in the handy seed saving envelopes in your Membership Pack. Make sure to fill out the info on the packs before you put in the seeds. It’s harder to write clearly after the beans are in!
Tomatoes are also pretty easy and although they can cross pollinate, they usually don’t. Here are our instructions for saving tomato seeds. Plants that do cross-pollinate, including any of the cucurbits, brassicas, and peppers, require some type of basic isolation either through caging, distance, timing, or hand pollination.
For folks who would like to become better gardeners and learn new skills to use at home, it’s time to register for our hands-on workshops. Erin’s Home Gardening Naturally workshop will be held in our new demonstration garden on August 11th. A week after that will be your chance to come to a workshop focused more on seed saving. Erin will be leading our popular (and delicious) Seeds and Salsa Workshop at Glynwood. If you are a farmer or work on a farm, you can register for our NOFA-NY Field Day. If you would like to learn about more advances techniques, consider coming to our Seed’s Eye View field day in September.
And don’t forget to save the date for our own annual gathering. Our 5th annual Seedy Soiree will be on September 22nd. We'll send out invitations soon.
It only takes one person to save seeds, but it takes a community to keep them thriving by sharing them. Thanks for help to keep the diversity of seeds and their stories alive.