January is the time that gardeners need to be thinking about seeds. To help them out, seed catalogs have been arriving in their mailboxes. Before you can think about new seeds, you need to take stock in what you have left from previous years. When making your list of what you have, note the year they were saved or offered for sale and by whom. Also, list how much you have. Sometimes I count the seeds, sometimes I put the weight, and sometimes I just note “lots” or “enough”. If you have more seeds than you plan to use, or things that you know you won’t be planting, set them aside to share with others.
Get together with friends and share seeds or find a formal seed swap. In Canada and the UK there are events called Seedy Saturday or Seedy Sunday that are celebrations of seeds and gardening. Seeds are sold and traded and the public has an opportunity to learn more from the scheduled speakers. These events are also opportunities for very small seed companies to sell their seeds or for individuals to share seeds. We have some seed swaps here in the U.S. In fact, the last Saturday of January is designated as National Seed Swap Day. The seed swap table in the photo is at the Virginia Biological Farming Conference in 2014. That conference is on January 30-31 in 2015, conveniently in time to celebrate National Seed Swap Day. You can learn more about these seedy days at Homeplace Earth.
The nice thing about getting together with others is that you hear the stories. If you are acquiring seeds from someone who grew them themselves, they will be more than happy to tell you why they chose that variety, what the weather conditions were when they grew, and how and when they were saved. I believe that the positive energy from interactions like that when obtaining your seeds adds positive energy to the seeds. Also, if you acquire seeds from someone who grew them with love and care, they already have positive energy from the start — good vibes.
Although they could be anytime, seed swaps are often scheduled in the winter, such as now, when gardeners are planning their gardens and ordering seeds. Seed libraries, however, are open all year and serve as year round seed swaps. If you would like to be involved in some of these seed sharing opportunities, find out where they are and take time to participate. At first you might be the recipient of seeds, but soon you will be saving your own and will have some to share. If you have wanted to give back to your community in some way, and there is no seed swap or seed library in your area, you could start one. My upcoming book, Seed Libraries and Other Means of Keeping Seeds in the Hands of the People, will provide ideas to help you get started and keep your program going. Join with others to save seeds and make a difference.
Learn more about Cindy Conner and what she's up to at Homeplace Earth.
All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.
Discover a dazzling array of workshops and lectures designed to get you further down the path to independence and self-reliance.LEARN MORE