Protecting plant varieties and maintaining diversity is a constant challenge. I am constantly humbled and awed by stories of Indigenous Nations saving plant varieties for centuries. The contribution of Indigenous communities and local farmers of all regions of the world is recognised in the foods we enjoy today, such as potatoes from the Andes, corn from Central America and many more. Read more about The Power of Saving Seeds here!
Starting with seeds
When you start your seed-saving adventure, look for these ancestral varieties or heirlooms as they are popularly known. These seeds are passed from one generation to another without losing their genetic strength.
The primary types of seeds you will find are open and hybrid seeds. However, open-pollinated seeds are the preferred seeds. This is because open-pollinated plants have better germination rates and are often superior in taste, quality and resistance to pests. Unfortunately, few species of open pollination are available, so collecting seeds is an important task.
Open-pollinated seeds are often found to trade at community gardens and sold at organic nurseries and small seed co-ops. Here, you will find an incredible array of plant varieties.
Saving seeds is a simple solution to the global challenge.Lucy Legan
As our lives became more globalised and busy, many seeds were withdrawn from the market simply because they lost their popularity, were challenging to grow, or multinational companies became the “owners”. However, some farmers and gardeners continue to plant unique varieties, such as black tomatoes and brindle beans, for pleasure, taste and history.
Hybrid seeds are created by cross-pollinating two or more varieties to build a more vigorous plant. However, hybrid seeds were created for profit, as they are difficult to save and do not reproduce the same quality seed. Hence, you need to buy more every year.
Seed Saving Rules
As a general rule, don’t save seeds from hybrid seeds. These ‘super’ plants are often throwback, and you may end up with a seed with latent traits of the original parent plant but dissimilar to the hybrid from which you harvested the seeds.
Taste: When deciding what seed to save, choose different and unusual varieties of plants that you like to eat. This way, you will get to know the species and its characteristics, increasing the chances of the plant’s survival. Encourage children to plant seeds of foods that they love to eat. This helps to grow future seed savers.
Pleasure: The ‘foodie’ culture has been fantastic for plant varieties that were almost forgotten. If you enjoy eating strange varieties, try growing your version of this plant. Save seeds of plants that you enjoy cooking, are nutritious, or have medicinal importance to your family.
Heritage: Preserving culturally significant seeds in your bioregion is like creating a ‘family tree’ for nature. Suppose the plant you enjoy is not native. In that case, seeds may have been brought over by pioneers or immigrants, which ultimately added significant value to your national cuisine. Value these seeds in your bioregional context. In addition to being resistant, they will be necessary for future generations.
Seed to Plate 70-Card Deck
We are so excited to present the world our Seed to Plate 70-card deck!
Whether you are a foodie, a gardener, a homeschooling family or want to be a future seed saver, we believe in the power of this 70-card deck to inspire and guide you on this journey of saving seeds.
Each card deck includes the following:
- 35 cards of the most favoured vegetables
- 10 cards of permaculture perennials to make your garden more sustainable
- 10 cards of all-time favourite herbs
- 8 cards of plants with high medicinal value
- 7 cards of flowers that are good enough to eat
- Guidebook with tips and DIY