Homestead Gardening in the Texas Gulf Coast
Podcast E7 – December 21, 2021
Did you know you can get free seeds just by collecting from the heirloom plants you grow in your garden? I always thought seed collecting wasn’t worth my time until I found out that the second generation of plants is actually better adapted to my climate. This means the chances are going to increase that my next crop is going to resist pests and stressors and produce more food in a smaller amount of space. So what does this mean for you? Well, hopefully fewer chores in the garden and more time actually enjoying what you grow.
There are so many great reasons to store heirloom seeds, but in this short 21 minute episode, I share my top 5.
First, you learn a lot about nature and plants through seed saving.
Seed saving makes you hyper focused on the life cycle of your plant. When you intentionally seed save, you actually decide at what point you will stop picking flowers or food off the plant and let that part of the plant go to seed. (listen to the podcast Episode 7, minute 1:20 for more details)
Second, seed saving gives you an opportunity to have better adapted plants for your property.
Seed saving is an amazing way to create a second generation of plants that are best adapted to your property. This is how commercial growers create award winning crops. (listen to the podcast Episode 7, minute 2:20 for more details)
My third reason to save seeds is to save money.
For many people this is not a very good reason to save seeds. However, in my garden, I grow no less than 100 different varieties of edible plants making seed purchasing year after year, season after season, a real budget buster! So, what does 100 seed varieties cost? Find out my estimate in the podcast Episode 7, minute 3:45! Seed trading, by the way, is the smartest way to get new varieties of seeds at no or nearly no additional cost!
My fourth reason to save seeds is to have more security and freedom with my food supply.
Not many people I meet are really concerned with having access to food. There’s a grocery store on every corner. However, when I think about food, I usually don’t think of processed food options which is a majority of what a typical grocery store has to offer. The bakery and bread aisle has more real estate than the fresh vegetables! Ultimately, I get to control my variety and my supply by growing at home. (listen to the podcast Episode 7, minute 10:30 for more details)
My fifth reason for seed saving is to preserve the genetics of heirloom plants.
This is actually a real concern. Most of the seeds available for purchase in big box stores as well as the plants you can buy are hybrids. Sometimes even heirloom seeds you can purchase in big box stores aren’t necessarily the best for your region. Seed banks and growers have shortages regularly of popular heirloom seeds, too, so this makes it all the more important for heirloom gardeners to take the initiative and store their own seeds. (listen to the podcast Episode 7, minute 13:00 for more details)
Growing heirloom seeds makes me less fearful of political climate change pressures. By growing heirlooms and collecting from the best plants each year, I am allowing these plants to adapt to the earth’s changing environment. You can’t just save an heirloom seed for 10 years and then start growing it. I mean you can, but you may not get the same heavy yield that it’s parent produced 10 years earlier. You have to be a steward and continue to grow those genetics in order to not just preserve the genetics but strengthen the genetics so that heirloom continues to have a lot of value.
I’m sure there are many other reasons I save seeds, but those are my top 5 right now.
My husband asked me early on if it was worth the trouble. Now that I’m planting those first seeds I saved, I can say it absolutely was worth it. I’ve also made awesome connections all over the united states and in the local community through seed swapping. Local connections with serious gardeners are a bit harder because we all are busy in our gardens most of the time, but with time I’ve made more and more.
I hope today’s episode opened your eyes to the world of seed saving. I’d love to hear about seeds you save in your garden or seeds your planning to save. You can find me on Instagram if you’d like to connect and share your garden stories with me. Also, don’t forget Q&A Fridays are your opportunity to ask questions or ask for more information on this episode! For seed collecting and saving tips, this week’s sister YouTube episode shares how I collect and store seeds.
If you’ve tried to start a garden but had limited success or have no idea how to start, ask the expert! HDG Landscape Design has over a decade experience advising clients on the when, where, what, why, and how of ornamental garden design, growing edible plants, and outdoor living and pool design. Visit our website for a list of services.