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Whether you’re a gardener, homesteader, or family historian, you should see the value of saving plant seeds for future generations. Renewing and ensuring your food supply as well as preserving family traditions are strong motives to learn how to save plant seeds. But first, we should understand even more reasons why you should be doing it.

Why It’s a Good Idea

Save Money – While it is a winter tradition for many, poring over seed catalogs can end up being a costly hobby. By saving and growing your own seeds from plants you’ve fallen in love with, you can expand your garden with little to no added expense. When you add the swapping aspect explained below, you can save even more.

Save and Preserve Heirlooms – Many heirloom plants and varieties are being lost as hybrids and modified specimens take their place. Make sure that some of these age-old plants are around for the future generations to enjoy. Your local garden clubs are often great sources of gardeners who cherish heirloom plants.

Preserve Unique Plants – No matter how much we search through seed and plant catalogs, some plants only cross our paths once. By saving seeds from your unusual specimen, you’ll be sure to enjoy it in the future without the frustration of trying to remember when, where, and how you originally obtained it.

Help the Wildlife – To collect seeds from many plants, you must let them grow after harvest in order to set seed. By allowing your plants to go to seed, you will be giving a boost to your local pollinators as well other wildlife. The longer “useful” life of the plant can help the insects and animals in your area by providing extra food and cover.

Family Connection – Saving the seeds from your garden can benefit you and your loved ones in many of the ways discussed above. But it can also give you another, more lasting reward – a lifelong connection with your family through the garden. Many gardeners enjoy growing what are commonly called “memory plants”. These plants are ones that Grandma grew or might have been in bloom during a momentous occasion such as a wedding or family vacation. It’s an even stronger connection when the new plants are grown from seeds that were actually gathered at that time.

Share and Swap – Seed swaps have become a popular way to share what you’ve collected while also expanding your own garden. Many swaps are conducted online and through the mail while others are embracing the social aspect and having actual events. These in-person seed swaps encourage new friendships to form and grow along with the plants. Many garden clubs and groups have regular seed swaps on their calendars.

Seed Libraries – Some public libraries and organizations have developed their own seed saving/swapping programs. These may as small as a box full of seed packets on a counter or as large as the underground bunker or “seed vault” in Norway. No matter the size, the goal is the same – to preserve and save seeds for the generations to come. Your local group may encourage you to both deposit and withdraw seeds from their “bank”. The larger institutions are there to ensure we don’t lose the diversity and wide genetic pool of the plants we still have in the world.

What You Can Do

Now that you have a better understanding of why saving seeds for the future is important, there is no time like the present to get started. Begin by choosing one of your favorite plants this year. Learn about its origin, its traits, and how best to save the seeds from this particular type of plant (they can differ). Pack it away and start dreaming of the plants you’ll grow again next year.

That is it! You are now among the ranks of the seed savers of the world. The future generations of plants and people who love them thank you for your effort.

By Julie Dees

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Great Herbs To Grow For The Beginner

If you’ve ever felt the rush of fulfillment when you cook using your own vegetables, wait till you try garnishing your meals with home-grown herbs.

Herbs are a great way to add flavor and an appetizing aroma to your meals but the high price of them on the market makes them seem like they’re not really a necessity. Luckily, with a little effort, you can start growing herbs on your own.

Since herbs are fairly small, it’ll be better to start growing them out of pots so you can manage them easily. Fertilizer is important for when you’re growing them and it can help retain nutritional balance in your soil which can grow healthy herbs.

To know if your soil is lacking any essential minerals, you can collect samples and have it tested. The test will determine what nutrients it contains, and what it doesn’t so you can get the right fertilizer. Remember to use an organic fertilizer that won’t cause any damage to your plants’ or your health.

Once you’ve prepped your soil, you’re ready to put it into pots and begin growing, but you need to pick which herbs you want to grow.

Two factors will determine what herbs you should grow; how easy it is to grow a certain herb and what your personal preferences are. (Of course, you’ll want to grow herbs that you actually intend to use.) For convenience, I’ll be naming herbs that you can find in almost every kitchen.

Parsley

You can grow this versatile herb by sowing them in warm soil. The soil can be either in a pot on a window or in a bed when the soil feels warm. These seeds can take some time to finally germinate so you can speed it up a notch by putting them in water and leaving them overnight before you plant them. Grow them in damp soil and place the pot in a sunny place.

Rosemary

This is the ultimate beginner’s herb because of how simple it is to grow, not to mention how good it tastes. Since it grows with hard leaves, it doesn’t lose water too quickly, which means you shouldn’t keep the soil too moist either.

Other than that, the soil doesn’t need much prepping and you don’t need to make special arrangements with regards to sun or shade, because rosemary isn’t picky.

Oregano

If cooking Italian is your specialty, then you need an Oregano plant right away. This delicious herb prefers light and warm soil, as well as lots of sunshine.

Sow them in a pot with warm soil, and pinch out the parts which grow vertically when the shoot has a height of 10 centimeters because it helps in stimulating growth.

Coriander

This herb is fairly popular in Asian cuisine and now you can grow it at home in pots. The seeds will take a few weeks until they germinate while the plants don’t last very long, so you’ll need to add more seeds often so you have a consistent supply. If you want the best-tasting coriander, then keep your plants healthy and harvest it often.


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