Every year I drool over seed catalogs as I plan my next garden. My favorite catalog is Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. I’m like a kid at Christmas when it arrives. They will send you a free catalog just go to www.rareseeds.com. I spend hours perusing the pages looking at the rare, non-GMO, heirloom seed collections that I want to try. I have ordered from a lot of seed catalogs and have been very disappointed with some of them. Some are all picture and no product. These guys seem to be a reliable source. Quality seed is important!
Once I’ve purchased quality heirloom seeds and have successfully produced fruits and vegetables from the plant, I really don’t need to buy new seeds. A little knowledge and work will let you save seeds from your own garden for years to come. This year is my first year growing carrots from seeds that I painstakingly saved from a crop two years ago. They are sweet and beautiful as shown in the photo below. I’m pretty proud of myself!
Some seeds are easier to save than others. Many require special isolation, processing or some other important care to produce a seed that will grow true to the parent plant. A carrot produces seed the second year so I had to protect it through our cold winter using a foot of leaves. When it began to blossom the second year, I wrapped a special bag over the flowering cluster to ensure that no cross pollination occurred. The devil is in the details, and there are lots of details that you need to know, so I recommend purchasing a really good reference book on seed saving for your prepper library.
I purchased Seed to Seed – Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth a few years ago. It has proved well-worth the investment. It is a reference-style book that covers just about every seed you might like to save along with growing conditions and special considerations. While Suzanne includes a lot of technical information, it is clear enough that even a novice like me can understand her instructions.
Seeds are an important part of your preps. You can purchase them in #10 cans and put them on a shelf for a few years …. just in case … and that’s better than not having them. However, if you work your land now, you will build your soil and learn critical skills. Saving seeds from your own plants ensures that you have the types of vegetables you enjoy and plants that grow well in your climate.
Knowledge is power. Seed saving might just be a handy skill to have mastered as we face the challenges in our future. Even if I never have to depend on that skill to feed my family, I find great satisfaction in my ability to grow vegetables from seeds I have saved.