By Bernadette Thomas
I have a friend who is a TV gardener. Could be daunting but she’s always encouraging me to try something new in my garden. She knows the limits of my expertise, but she also knows how good gardening is for the soul, the mind, and physical health.
Earlier this year she sent me some packets of seed in the post; a lovely lockdown #1 gesture. I had expressed an interest in collecting and growing something not from a seedling but from seed. Her gift was her way of giving me a little friendly nudge.
So, at the end of tomato season I saved some seeds from my cherry tomato and apollo (I know they’re a hybrid) plants, did some google searching, and voila, I had saved seeds for the first time in my gardening life. I quickly took some photos and sent them to my friend. Some time later, another gardening friend gave me a whole pumpkin she’d grown in her backyard. Delicious. I was one step closer to seed self sufficiency and saved, washed and dried the pumpkin seeds. They’re ready and waiting for next pumpkin season.
Next it was a gift of spring onion seeds, and a lesson in how to save those for next time. I’d grown them many times before from a seedling but would now start from scratch. They’re going pretty well so far.
My tenuous steps into seed saving has made me more conscious of the type of seeds and seedlings (let’s face it, I’m not fully seed sufficient yet) I buy. I buy organic fruit and vege as a matter of course but haven’t always applied the same logic to my seedling purchases. Sometimes choosing access over quality, and often paying the price. Becoming a seed saver has reinforced the importance of using good quality seeds. It also encourages me to spend more time in my garden, as I watch seeds take hold and turn into seedlings. My garden has also extended into the lounge room, right next to the yoga mat!
Sow where to start? There’s a lot of information online, but let’s face it, like most things in life, sharing the experience with others is much more fun. There are a number of local groups you can join – Permaculture out West , west side seed/seedling, and a little further afield Hume Seed Savers and Riddells Creek Seed Savers (both on Facebook) or seedsavers.net, which lets you search for local seed savers networks.
Since it’s always nice to finish with a quote, here’s one I found on google that I liked (especially since it lets me off the hook for my planting not always going right, and you can apply it to anything you do in life) – “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson