The Gardener’s Network on Lummi Island (which all gardeners and wannabee gardeners are encouraged to join) recently met for a seed exchange. I missed it and was disappointed because I had a five gallon bucket of seed packets to share. In my euphoric new gardener state of a few years ago I ordered most of the seeds available in the Uprising Seed and Territorial Seed catalogs. At least it looks that way. So, I was left with 100 packets of 2008 seed.
In an earlier blog I suggested a method of testing the seed to see if it was viable. I decided I better practice what I’ve preached and have, for the last week, been testing my seeds to see what is good and what is bad. I have laid out the details on my garden blog here so that you can try it yourself.
There is a lot of interest in seed these days with all the GMO stuff in the news. Apparently, Montsanto and two other companies are trying to corner the market on seed maybe even with the help of the Gates Foundation. Organic groups are worried that certain federal laws will inhibit the ability of people to grow organic crops and save and share heirloom seeds. Although the idea of growing “illegal” vegetables seems preposterous; as preposterous as sanctions against pot must seem to a Rastafarian.
Discussing seeds and TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it), Steve Solomon recently pointed out that: “Vegetable seeds are small, light-weight, (can be) long-lasting VALUABLE items that are easy to transport and store. The sort of items, like sewing needles, that can be carried long distances by back pack distributors. I expect good vegetable seeds might travel long distances even in horse-and-wagon economics.” He also said, “In my opinion, the end of the world as we know it will not involve the end of the vegetable seed business.” My guess is he is right. If there is ever and attempt to really control and monopolize seed there will be a healthy black market for vegetable seed.
That said, it’s a good time for us to buy some and learn to save some. I don’t know how but intend to learn. And, as soon I get more information I will be reporting on The Backyard Beans and Grain Project (BBGP) where a young grower in Everson is experimenting with regaining local knowledge and learning how to grow beans and grains with minimal irrigation and even on marginal soils.