Garden Club: Saving seeds for ourselves and the world

Sooke Garden Club hosts agrarian who talks about seed saving

Earlier this spring I sowed more than 50 tomato seeds and (yikes!) every single one germinated. I’ll probably hold onto fewer than a dozen because of limited space in my wee greenhouse and less than stellar out-in-the-open success rates. No matter. Opportunities abound for divesting oneself of seedling overflow – family, friends, community gardens, organizations’ plant sales, etc. Besides, when seeds are saved (and therefore free and plentiful), it’s genuinely satisfying watching them sprout and grow into healthy seedlings.

I don’t know much about collecting seeds, other than that they need to be from open-pollinated plants rather than hybrids if you want a true offspring of the parent plant. To me, reproducing something that you really like (and does well in your conditions) seems the whole point of saving seeds, especially for the vegetable garden.

Many (if not most) of the flowers and vegetables available at garden stores today are hybrids, i.e. plants produced through careful and deliberate (and often multiple) cross-pollination to showcase selected characteristics in their first year. Granted, hybridization offers many benefits (e.g., improvements in yield, beauty, disease resistance, nutritional value, ability to withstand unfavourable environmental conditions), but it also has significant shortcomings (e.g., sterility or unpredictable reproducibility, genetic erosion, higher cost).

The loss of genetic diversity in food over the past 50 years has been huge. Large-scale commercial growers continue to plant fewer and fewer varieties of crops. The major seed producers from which they buy rely on hybridization and genetic modification for economic success. This increasing dependence on a narrowing range of specialized seeds has increased international concern about potentially devastating consequences of massive crop failures due to disease, pests or climate change. Locally, however, we can help preserve plant diversity simply by saving and planting heirloom seeds.

Robin Sturley, owner/operator of Edible Earth Seeds in Duncan, insists that “saving your own vegetable and flower seed is rewarding and easy to do.” Robin is a young agrarian passionate about preserving food biodiversity. She is also this month’s speaker at the Sooke Garden Club. Please join us Wed. May 22, 7:30 p.m., at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church on Townsend Road. Also on the agenda: parlour show and spring plant sale. New members are always welcome. Membership is $15 and can be purchased at the door. For more information, email: sookegardenclub@yahoo.ca or phone Rose at 250-642-5509.

Submitted by Loretta Fritz

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Sooke Bluffs staircase closed due to rot

District to consider replacement for ‘high risk’ staircase in fall

Oak Bay council places 60-day protection order on Island Road house

Developer pulled heritage agreement over ‘exorbitant’ $417,000 fees

Saanich council to dig into long-awaited garden suite study

Detached suites keep families close, provide financial flexibility, mayor says

BIPOC artists come together to paint mural highlighting racial injustice in Bastion Square

‘More Justice, More Peace’ to go beyond cycle of hurt and sadness

VIDEO: Greater Victoria police officers try bhangra dancing with social media star

Gurdeep Pandher leads bhangra lesson on front lawn of the BC Legislature building

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Hundreds of sea lions to be killed on Columbia River in effort to save endangered fish

Nearly 22,000 comments received during public review were opposed, fewer than 200 were for

Most Read