Seed Saving workshop at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana on Sept.

Seed Saving workshop at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana on Sept. 18.

My interest in seed saving began in 2005 when I learned how to save tomato seeds while working in the garden at White Violet Center.

My passion for seed saving really began in 2006 with a humble little zinnia bloom. We had grown the classic Bernary’s Giant variety of zinnia in the vegetable garden in previous years, always from new seed stock. At the end of 2005, we changed pace and gathered the seedheads from the zinnias in the field, dried and cleaned them over the winter weeks, and seeded them out again the following spring.

I was delighted with the mix of colors on the blooms that came from these saved seeds. Instead of being solid purple or pink, the blooms looked like two dollops of paint smeared together, with streaks of pink at the edges of the petals blending into a lavender-colored center. The reds and oranges also combined in interesting ways, as did the yellows and oranges. There were still solid pinks, purples, reds, and oranges, but the combinations of colors that arose from the original strain of seed were far more complex and beautiful.

I was hooked. I began to learn whatever I could about seed saving. I was surprised at how simple it can be to save certain seeds, as well as how much diligence goes into saving others. I found the process fun and rewarding, and made many mistakes along the way. As I continued to do my research, I learned that saving your own seeds can be as much of a political statement as it can be a simple preference for a plant’s taste, texture, or color. Growing your own food is a distinct pleasure, but it can also be a way to assert your own self-reliance and to be a little less dependent on corporate food companies.* Why not take it one step further by learning how to save your own seed?

Learning how to grow your own food and save your own seed is a handy skill that will repay you for years to come. And at the end of the day, it’s just fun. Please join us on Sept. 18 to get started on your own seedy journey. Seed Saving class details can be found here.

*This being said, there are many corporations that do a lot of good in the world, and there are scores of small seed companies doing the very important work of preserving our heritage of agricultural biodiversity. You should support them too!