Sunday, 20 February 2011

Seeds seeds seeds

Ding dong, the gardening year has begun, and it started with a bang.
Some while ago I blogged about the Scottish Seed Saving Network and how much I learned about the politics behind seeds. In two hours, my view on seeds was totally and utterly changed. While before I got my seeds from any old garden centre without much thought, now I know the importance of local seeds for growing success (short term) and empowered gardening for the want of a better word (long term). Growing food is also about skills, and saving seeds as well as growing from seed is a skill set that makes the food grower self sufficient. Not in an airy fairy way, it's rather about empowering anyone to grow independent from the seeds imposed on you by large scale manufacturers, who can give you whatever they like (including seeds that won't be able to produce seeds, as they already do with lots of crops).

The philosophy of the seed saving network is to promote seed saving and to exchange them for free. It's utterly not about profit, but about giving good seeds to anyone who wants to grow vegetables.

And Saturday was this years seed exchange day. I'd been waiting for it for over 6 months, since I came to know about the network. It's based in East Kilbride, just a few miles out of Glasgow, which has the advantage of being a location within the same micro climate as Glasgow, so that seeds tested and growing well will also do well in Glasgow. If anything, the seeds will be hardier than needed as East Kilbride is a bit colder than Glasgow.

I was stunned by the variety of seeds. They came packaged in small bags, just the right size to avoid wasting the seedy gold. The quantities were impressive, as was the variety. I really struggled what to do, with my limited garden space I can't possibly plant all that was on offer, yet I'd like to try out quite a few new vegetables, and that made me take much more than needed. They won't go to waste though, between neighbours, family and friends who are also growing their own, they will find a home for this season I'm sure (if you live in Scotland, and would like some seeds, do get in touch, I'm more than happy to pass some one).

Cubling found the whole event rather exciting, and was more intrigued by beekeeping than seeds, and ever so slightly subverting the oil game of the Transition Scotland Support stall.

I never thought a year ago that I could be so excited about seeds. In fact, most of my veg were garden centre pregrown because I couldn't be bothered growing from seed. How this has changed - I'm so excited about my seed collection that I can't wait to get started. In my mind there is a lot of measuring out of space going on, trying to find little spaces for another seed tray here and there.

I'm confident that these seeds will work much better than those bought in shops, and that I'll be able to actually grow something all the way from seed to harvest.
Let the growing season begin.


Muddling Along said...

What a great idea - will have to see if something similar exists around here

cartside said...

I'm pretty sure there will be something down your way. Garden Organic is a great organisation and they may have information on seed saving initiatives, they also have a great book on seed saving.

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

That's a brilliant idea, and to have them in smaller sizes as well. There's always far too many seeds in commercial packets for a casual gardener.

Sarah said...

Oh, thanks for the reminder! Time to start thinking about my garden. (And time to start wondering if I really want to go through with it this summer with a baby due in late July, right along with the beans, peppers, and tomatoes.)

Have fun with your seeds and your garden this year! I'm sure Cubling will enjoy "helping" and exploring.



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