Seed Saving Workshop- Diversity is Strength

Where do you get your seeds? 

At the Seed Saving Workshop we learned how to collect and store seeds from our own backyard (or our friends'!) and why its important

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Do you buy heirloom, organic vegetables? How about heirloom, organic seeds? 

Heirloom vegetables are gaining popularity as a more nutritious, more flavorful choice compared to supermarket options. They are often wild shapes and colors that don't fit into our idea of the what a tomato or carrot or apple should look like.

But beyond the health and culinary benefits LOCAL heirloom vegetables have a greater importance, they preserve our regions biodiversity.

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Seed Corn from Bevan Williams...great for our SW climate

Plants show us that diversity is strength. Plant seeds hold variations, whether small or large, that give the plant an opportunity to try something new. If it works in the current conditions the plant survives to create more plants with this characteristic. If it doesn't work then that variation disappears into history. If there is a change in conditions, such as a new climate or the introduction of a new pest or disease, than those variations have a chance to shine, possibly even save the plant from disappearing (not the individual plant but the species). 

In the Southwest we have a challenging climate, short growing season, harsh hot days with cold nights, limited water, but luckily there are plants that have adapted to thrive in this climate. Even vegetable varieties!

Through a process called climatization, plants that have grown in this area for generations adapt to the climate one small genetic change at a time. Those adaptions are saved in the genetic information of the seeds of those plants.

If we buy seeds that are from a different region with a different climate, even if those seeds are heirloom and organic, than the plants grown from them will not be adapted to our region and may have a hard time growing here. 

If we stop growing the varieties adapted to our region then we lose the variety that they have to offer, a resource we may need to draw from as we see our climate changing.

So lets get saving and sharing our precious seeds!

We have a great new resource in town, the Southwest Seed Library, located at the Powerhouse Science Center (formerly Durango Discovery Museum), you an literally "check out" seeds. The way it works is that you go to the SW Seed Library find the varieties you would like to grown and then let some of those plants go to seed, harvest the seed, and donate it back to the Seed Library. (NOTE: Seeds are labled as "Easiest-to-Save",  "Easy-to-Save", and "Advanced"). Give it a try!

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Here are some more great resources:

-Southwest Seed Library 

Recommended Seed Sources (from Workshop presenter Monea Monroe):

Baker Creek www.rareseeds.com
Native Seed / SEARCH www.nativeseeds.org - a nonprofit organization working to strengthen food security in the Greater Southwest by conserving our region's unique crop diversity and teaching others to do the same.
Rocky Mountain Seed Source

www.rockymountainseedsource.com - Heirloom seeds for sustainability - Bevan Williams (founder)

Books

Seed to Seed 

 by Suzanne Ashworth

Preppers Garden Food Production  by Bevan Williams Kindle E-book
Growing Food in the Southwest Mountains  by Lisa Rayner

Workshop Presenter  

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Monea Monroe

Monea started the Southwest Seed library. She is a certified permaculture teacher, was on the design team for the Colorado Permaculture Guild, and is currently co-teaching the Permaculture Design Course. She is also working on bringing the Colorado Permaculture Convergence to our area in Spring 2015.

Also, thank you to Elisa Sands who help co-lead the seed saving workshop!


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