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

Coast Capital Savings in Saanich to re-open after COVID-19 scare

The branch closed ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Court hears of moments before Victoria father stabbed to death in the middle of Hillside Avenue

Sentencing hearing for Daniel Creagh, charged with manslaughter, began Friday

Saanich launches new tool to help residents learn about the budget

Tool launch will coincide with the Mar. 3 budget meeting

Nominations for Victoria municipal byelection are in

Victoria will elect one councillor

Oak Bay’s first heritage conservation area is in the books

Councillor excited to see how HCA protects character of The Prospect

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Lawyer gets house arrest for possessing child porn

Maple Ridge resident gets nine-month term

Most Read