Seed Saving? Why you need to do it…

SEED SAVINGHands-seedling
With large biochemical companies like Syngenta & Seminis (both Monsanto owned) controlling the vast majority of the seed market for both commercial Farmers and the Home Gardener, we are losing the bio diversity of our seeds. We as avid home gardeners are limited to what we can buy “off the rack” at retail and need to diligently seek out alternatives to the narrow choice of seeds marketed. To be good stewards of what Nature has given us, we can help stop the loss of the precious natural genetics by saving heirloom & open-pollinated seeds.

Ever wonder how to grow and save your own seed? There are lots of people that want to save seeds of heirloom & open-pollinated varieties of vegetables & more. With a little bit of care, you can too!   This is a short list of info on how to do it and resources for more on seed saving.  You’ll find online links, titles of books found at the library and places to share seeds. If you are interested in finding out more about sustainable organic gardening, ways to combat food insecurity or other issues on growing food, education, agriculture, and solutions in your neighborhood, contact:
The Forest Grove Victory Garden – FGGardens.wordpress.com
DairyCreekCommunityFoodWeb.org
AdelanteMujeres .org

Download & Print or view online:

AGuideToSeedSaving-cover“A Guide to Seed Saving, Seed Stewardship & Seed Sovereignty” (PDF)
http://www.seedambassadors.org/docs/seedzine4handout.pdf

“A Seed Saving Guide for Gardeners and Farmers” (PDF)
http://www.seedalliance.org/uploads/publications/Seed_Saving_Guide.pdf

Growing Tomatoes For Seed Saving – Dowling Community Garden (PDF)
http://www.dowlingcommunitygarden.org/pdf/savTomSeeds.pdf

“Organic Seed Production and Saving: The Wisdom of Plant Heritage” By Bryan Connolly
books.google.com/books?isbn=1603583548

“How to Save Seeds” Vegetable Seed Saving Handbook (PDF)  http://howtosaveseeds.com/index.php

Books about Seed Saving – found at the Library
Seed to Seed : seed saving and growing techniques for vegetable gardeners by Ashworth, Suzanne.
The manual of seed saving : harvesting, storing, and sowing techniques… by Heistinger, Andrea.
The complete guide to saving seeds : by Gough, Robert E. (Robert Edward)
The complete idiot’s guide to seed saving and starting by Richerson, Sheri Ann.
Heirloom vegetable gardening ; a master gardener’s guide to planting, seed saving… by Weaver, William Woys

How long do garden seeds last?
http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/how-long-do-garden-seeds-last
Resources For Seeds
http://seedambassadors.org/
http://www.winonagrange271.org/gpage12.html
http://www.seedsavers.org/Education/Seed-Donation-Program/
http://seeddreams.blogspot.com/
http://www.seedsavers.org/

Share Seeds
http://www.nomoola.com/seeds/where.html

Helpful Hints
Download & Print:  Natural Yard & Garden – A Guide to Alternatives to Pesticides
http://www.clark.wa.gov/esa/documents/garden.PDF

Upcoming Events

Grow It! – March 15th, 2014 at the Forest Grove Library.
Free Gardening Classes Presented by OSU Extension Service Master Gardeners, in partnership with Dairy Creek Community Food Web and the Forest Grove Community Gardens . Come to a FREE class to learn  how grow things. Come to network and help find ways we can support our local food systems, feed our hungry, help create a year round farmer’s market, support community kitchens, develop school gardens, farm to school programs and

Saturday, Feb. 15, 10:30 am – Noon Quick and Easy Plant Propagation
Saturday, March 15, 10:30 am – Noon Start Your Own Vegetable Garden (March class also offered in Spanish 2 – 3:30 pm)
Saturday, April 19 ,10:30 am – Noon Square Foot Vegetable Gardening
Saturday, May 17, 10:30 am – Noon Year-Round Vegetable Gardening (May close only held in the Community Auditorium 1915 Main Street, Forest Grove)

The SHARE SEEDS station will be there!

Is your favorite seed company selling a GMO?

Probably not. Seed companies don’t sell genetically modified seed to the home gardener since it requires a contract for their “patented life form” Whew!  But still, where can you go for pure seeds and trusted seed companies that sell them. I’m working on it!

TripleSweet™ is a Syngenta registered brand!

TripleSweet™ is a Syngenta registered brand!

I’ve recently discovered through my own digging that I may have been supporting the “big 6” biochemical companies inadvertently. I thought that buying from companies that have taken the “Safe Seed Pledge” or sold “USDA Organic & Heirloom” seed was good enough. It is NOT! It’s come to my attention that a couple of the companies I’ve long trusted, Territorial Seed Company and Ed Hume Seeds, both claim the Safe Seed Pledge (in that they don’t sell GMO seed) and yet they continue to sell Syngenta & Seminis seeds! Imagine my horror to find that I had retail packages of the offending corporations like Monsanto & Syngenta in my own garden seed box!

With that discovery I began my slog through the Ag catalogs to see if any of the seed I’d purchased was a GMO or treated with insecticides and such. Low and behold, I found some of those trademarked brands of seed listed right alongside the genetically engineered BT corn! It also allowed me to see that they make a distinction between seed for the home garden and commercial farmers. I was relieved to find that as a home gardener, I can’t get a GMO seed without signing a contract with the biochemical company since some seeds are patented life forms.  Thankfully, I’m not growing a GMO in my garden. What it did do, was make me aware of the brand names of seeds I am buying and which companies still sell Syngenta & Seminis (Monsanto) seeds!

So now the hard part. How can I keep my dollars from flowing to the companies that are diametrically opposed to the values I hold dear? (namely, buying sustainable organic, open pollinated, heirloom varieties that help continue the genetic diversity of seeds I can grow in my own garden) Well, its difficult! I can’t just grab an “organic” packet off the rack anymore since those seed companies may be repackaging Syngenta & Seminis seeds under their own labels!

What can we do? We can continually challenge companies to keep our values by divesting themselves from the biochemical companies. By reaching for seeds that are from companies that have not only taken the Safe Seed Pledge, but by checking to make sure that they are true to the spirit of genetic diversity and not just giving it “lip service” or using the Safe Seed Pledge as a marketing tool. I’ve also started challenging the companies directly on their Facebook pages about their commitment to the S.S.P. Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote on the Ed Hume Seeds Facebook page:”

Your seeds are not GMO? Anybody that’s done a little research knows seeds marketed for home gardens CAN’T be a GMO. You’ve got to sign a contract to get those. What CAN be said is that Ed Hume Seeds sells #Syngenta seeds, from one of the “big 6” biochemical companies! #Syngenta and #Seminis are both divisions of, or associated with #Monsanto! We need companies true to the “SafeSeedPledge”. #EdHumeSeeds has NOT taken that pledge! Honey Select is a registered Syngenta seed! http://www.humeseeds.com/cornhs.htm”

That has resulted in them deleting my Facebook posts and gotten me banned by Ed Hume Seeds. Thankfully Territorial Seed is still responding!

Since I’ve decided I don’t want to support biochemical companies in my garden if its humanly possible, I’ve started the task of finding ways to reliably confirm that the seed companies I buy from are in fact NOT sourcing their seeds from Seminis or Syngeta. That is proving to be a hard row to hoe! I’ve found a few “cultivars” databases that allow me to actually reference the brand name of the seed to verify who has developed it and where its sourced from. Here are links to two databases. They aren’t as up to date as they could be, but they are a start!
http://ashs.org/cultivars/index.lasso
http://cuke.hort.ncsu.edu/cucurbit/wehner/vegcult/

I’ve also started compiling a list of companies that I have checked for Syngenta & Seminis branded seed varieties. That list is incomplete and I will post it when its reasonably accurate. On a side note, I was able to retrieve the list of seed companies from “Occupy Monsanto 360” website that disappeared last year. If you’d like that, just let me know. Lets hope that with our hard work  and with help from others, we can gain knowledge and find tools to help us make educated choices in how we grow, feed and build our families!

Is that seed packet harboring a GMO?

Probably not, ’cause most seeds marketed for the “home gardener” are just plain hybrids.  Do you want to give your hard earned dollars to companies that are infiltrating and controlling the seeds that you can grow in your garden? NO!  Here’s someone that has taken the time to compile a list of seed varieties held by the big Chemical companies.

Not only does the article explain things like:
☀ Most of the vegetable varieties that are owned by these companies (primarily Seminis) are not GMO’s.  A lot of them are normal vegetable garden seeds that people grow every year in their gardens.
☀  The difference between hybrid and GMO seeds.
☀ A bit about the definition of open-pollinated seeds and heirloom seeds, and how they differ from hybrid seed.
☀ Monsanto is known primarily for their work on GMO’s.  What’s less known is that they own the rights to a lot of seed varieties that are non-GMO.
☀ Why you may see some varieties listed in a catalogue that sells strictly open-pollinated seeds.

They’ve taken the time to post well researched lists of seed varieties so that we can weed out seeds from the big seed conglomerates.

For lists of seed varieties click HERE

The Best Gardening Blog

Seed Sharing – Take Some, Leave Some or Both!

SeedStation-ForestGrove3Take some, Leave some or Both! –

Tomar algo, Dejar algo o Ambos!

Coming back Soon – Spring 2014

Look for it in conjunction with OSU gardening classes.

SeedStation-ForestGrove1A new Seed Sharing Station is now installed at the Forest Grove Library. Its a place to share the bounty of this green earth. If you are a seed saver, a beginning gardener, or someone that wants to give back to the community, please stop by to show your support. At present, the seed sharing station will be available through the end of May 2013 and in conjunction with the OSU extension service gardening classes held at the Library and with help from the F.G. Victory garden. It should reappear at the end of the 2013 season so that seed savers can help to replenish the station.

Plant a row of veggies for the hungry and save your seeds! Together we can help provide for the “food insecure” in Oregon and promote self-sufficiency.

TAKE = Act without Shame
LEAVE = Share without Condition
WHATEVAS = Trust without Apology

For more information about starting a seed sharing station, visit NoMoola.com

SeedStation-ForestGrove2

Free Garden Planning Software

GrowVeg.com

Online Vegetable Garden Planning Software – Try It Free

A Great Way to Plan Your Vegetable Garden

This Vegetable Garden Planner makes it easy to draw out your vegetable beds, add plants and move them around to get the perfect layout. Either feet and inches or metric units are supported and any shape of garden can be created.

Whether you use traditional row planting, raised beds or Square Foot Gardening the Vegetable Garden Planner adapts to suit your gardening style.

Once you’ve created your perfect garden, the trial software lets you create and post an image of your garden layout. For those of us that always seem to forget what we planted last year, this will help us remember for future crop rotations. Here’s a link to my garden for 2012: