The other day Dani at Eco Footprint-South Africa wrote a great post called Gone To Seed where she wondered why all of us in the US were spending our hard earned cashola on seeds when we could just as easily harvest our own seeds directly from our plants like she does and be more self sufficient.
I weighed in my thoughts (as did several of you who also read my blog). Last night I went in and pulled her post back up to see what other commenters had to say. A very interesting topic to be sure and the reasons "why" we're buying were all good ones.
Some of the reasons made me laugh..."because we CAN"...while some I hadn't considered..."shorter growing season = no time to allow the plant to go to seed".... "cross pollination issues."
Seed saving is high on my list of To-Do's for this year. You'd think that saving seeds would be a bit of a no brainer but after reading some of the comments from Dani's post, I've got a rather general question.
Simply put, what works and what doesn't? I bet the answer isn't so simple.
As a "newbie" gardener I'd like to be as efficient as I can be. If you tell me something isn't likely to work out, I'd rather pass on it for now and experiment on it some other time. However, if experience has taught you that this solution is a pretty sure thing, than I'd like to hear it. I'd rather not remake the wheel if I can help it.
Seed saving falls into that category big time. I have zero experience in it. Like many of you, buying seeds is just easier and gives you the product you want in the expected manner. So if lettuce is a great seed save, I'd like to know. If saving squash seeds suck, well...I like to know that too. So feel free to share the wealth. Let me know what has worked for you and what hasn't.
I have another question too, kind of along the same lines. This year I'm starting strawberries. I'm fine with making the investment and buying the plants. But I've read that you should consider rotating your strawberries out every 3 years or so. The implication is that a strawberry plant has a productive lifespan of only so long, not to mention the whole "crop rotation thing". But if this is the case, can I propagate my own plants? Or do I need to buy them?
Same thing with potatoes. I now understand that I need to buy organic at the store and let them go to seed. I don't need to buy them from a catalog or nursery. But have you found that store bought potatoes are unpredictable? That purchased seed potatoes from a suppler gives you better results?
Now even though I do want to save money and limit my future seed purchasing I do agree with what Jane said...
"There are some really great seed companies out there that fight the GMO companies and we really have to support them to stay in business or there will not be a choice in the future."
And that my friends is probably the best reason of all.