Monday, 18 March 2019

Seed Week

Thanks to, Sara Venn, one of the wonderful gardeners I follow on Twitter I discovered that today is the start of Seed Week - a promotional week launched by new-to-me organisation The Gaia Foundation - It's designed to raise awareness of the importance of bio-diversity in food crops, support small-scale organic seed growers and encourage you to save your own seed that is adapted to local conditions. The campaign has it's own website under the project name Seed Sovereignty and is packed with information.

Let's face it, History has it's own lessons to teach about the dangers of concentrating all our food production on a single species or even worse a single variety of a species  - potato blight was one of the causes of the devastation the wracked Ireland in the 1880s Famine and less devastating to us but not to the communities that rely on the income, we are now being told that banana supplies could be under threat as all commercial supplies are from a single species which is vulnerable to a fungal disease. We also never know when an old or native strain will prove the saviour of a crop we desperately need or a creature we really prize without the obvious joy they bring just by existing for their own sake.

I've written before about the joys of the Heritage Seed Library and the important work it does in preserving a range of old or unusual varieties but there are also lots of smaller companies and organisations that produce organically grown seed in relatively small quantities, of varieties that are suited to the climate and growing conditions in their environs - I've used Real Seeds before and no doubt will do so again - good quality seed in reasonable quantities and they not only encourage you to grow out part of your crop and save the seed for future use, they also explain how to do it. There are other companies out there too so please check out The Gaia Foundation's page on seed suppliers for a lower impact supplier near you.

We really enjoy saving our own seed especially beans, peas and flowers - we've got healthy hollyhocks growing in the back garden from seed saved from a plant that grew a few years ago in the front garden, our Kew Blue and Blue Lake beans come from crops saved over the years and the peas that I've set outside to start hardening off this morning were saved by a friend and promise to have beautiful purple pods. Oh and we've also got home-saved Chard, Kale, Leek and Sweetcorn waiting to be sown.

"Barry's" purple podded peas - a sweet surprise in a super tall pea

Will they come true from seed?

Home-saved ruby chard for early salads
 Enjoy your week.

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