Planning a Seed Saving Garden
Small Steps to Food Security

by nw farms and food  -  Permalink
January 2, 2012

 seed-packetsThis winter, as you pore over the seed catalogs and dream of next season’s garden, think about including seed saving in the harvest. Starting a seed-saving garden can be easy and cost-effective. For one, when you save your own, you won’t have to depend on seed companies for the next year’s plants. You also have a hand in shaping your garden. By selecting seeds from plants with the best flavor, size or other desired characteristics, you can create a garden most suited your tastes and microclimate.

Whether you prefer planting from seeds or plant starts initially, the key is to choose heirloom and open-pollinated varieties. Open-pollinated plants grow true to type, which means that their seeds can produce the same kind of plant as the parent. Some plants of the same genus, however, can cross-pollinate, so plan on planting only a single variety of each related vegetable, or separate varieties by distance. (Isolation distances for seed saving are available from many publications, including the books listed below.)

To find seed sources appropriate to your region, get in touch with local seed savers at seed exchanges. When you buy, choose from small local producers and nurseries that carry heirlooms and plants well-adapted to your area. In time, your garden can become its own seed bank, and you’ll have a rich and reliable supply for yearly planting.

Northwest Sources of Heirloom and Open-pollinated Seeds and Plant Starts:
  onion-plant-starts
Abundant Life Seeds (London, OR)
Bountiful Gardens (Willits, CA)
Full Circle Seeds (Sooke, BC)
Irish Eyes Garden Seeds (Ellensburg, WA)
Osborne Seed Company (Mt. Vernon, WA)
Salt Spring Seeds (Salt Spring Island, BC)
Seeds of Victoria (Victoria, BC)
Sunseed Farm (Acme, WA) – organic plant starts
Territorial Seed Company (Cottage Grove, OR)
Uprising Seeds (Bellingham, WA)
West Coast Seeds (Delta, BC)
Wild Garden Seed (Philomath, OR)

Further Resources:
Organic Seed Alliance (Port Townsend, WA)
British Columbia Seed Database (British Columbia)

Books:
Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth
Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades by Steve Solomon
Seed Sowing and Saving: Step by Step Techniques for Collecting and Growing More than 100 Vegetables, Flowers, and Herbs by Carole B. Turner

More on seed saving:
Saving Seeds, Sowing Food Security

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