Saving seeds to save the world

The seeds of change

The potential of a single seed is mind-blowing. You could hold a forest in your hand, a prairie in your pocket. Every time I plant a seed and see it grow, I am impressed beyond words. It is truly one of the most rewarding, humbling life-cycles, burying a tiny seed in soil, nurturing it and watching it grow and flower. Now the time has come for us to start saving theses precious gifts from Mother Earth.

There are endless reasons to why we should save our seeds. Firstly and foremost it is one of the most satisfying and self-gratifying things you can do for your garden and local habitat. Collecting the tools to produce your own food from scratch and watching them thrive in your garden each year not only gives you a sense of independence by not having to rely on companies that sell seeds, it will also teach you a lot about your own local habitat. By saving seeds from varieties of vegetables and fruit that have done well in your own garden you will learn which types of vegetables that thrive and those that don’t.

Whats more, you will be helping to contribute to the genetic diversity of our heirloom food plants. The more varieties we save the wider range of plants we have and so the more chance we have of them being resilient to diseases and climate change. Since the 1900’s when the was a dramatic decline in the number of growers saving and trading their seeds, we have lost a huge amount of heirloom plants as we have relied on big companies to provide us with seeds. With a predicted 60 harvests left on this earth, the more seeds we save the more likely we will be able to feed ourselves in years to come. We need to start saving for not only ourselves but for future generations.

Being able to rely on yourself and not companies for food also means you can decide the quality of your produce. Where as companies select seeds that store well and sell well, you can choose to save seeds of the varieties vegetables and fruits that taste great and are well suited to the local climate.

So how do we save seeds? To save seeds from spuds for example simply save keep the best looking or biggest from a that species and store them in a paper bag in a dark, dry, cool place. Other varieties of vegetables such as broccoli you can let it flower and go to seed then dry those seed and save them. For more information on how to save seeds take a trip to Scariff in East Clare to visit the Irish Seed Savers Association where you can learn a lot more about seed saving and discover the amazing range of heirloom varieties they have preserved.

It’s not only about saving the seeds of edible varieties of plants. Saving the seeds of native trees and flowers is just as imminent if we are going to start slowing down the dark, looming clouds of climate change. At the Moy Hill Community Garden we have a small nursery of saplings including beech, elm, hawthorn, ash and many more. We collected them from a walk in the woods last Autumn with Joe Quilty, a friend of ours who is passionate about trees and preserving native varieties for our future forests.

So the moral of the story is, save seeds, save trees and then we might just…


…save the world.

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