The Art of Saving Heirloom Vegetable Seeds

| 6/30/2011 11:20:09 AM

Tags: seed saving, heirloom vegetables, food history,

“At the time, I assumed everyone had grandparents who hoarded rare seeds, enjoyed food they grew themselves and dabbled in the kind of connoisseurship that comes from eating only what is fresh and local (especially your own). I was soon to learn that this was not the case and that what we had found in the freezer was a major collection of very rare seeds, very rare indeed.”

This quote from William Woys Weaver’s Harvesting Our Heirloom History pinpoints the moment when heirloom seed preservation became his lifework.

Weaver describes heirloom seed saving as the link to a rich horticultural and culinary heritage. In his book, Heirloom Vegetable Gardening: A Master Gardener’s Guide to Planting, Seed Saving and Cultural History, he takes readers through the seed saving mastery of indigenous peoples and the waves of immigrant farmers and homesteaders who followed.

Heirloom beans 

Weaver’s book profiles 280 heirloom varieties, with authoritative growing advice and incredible recipes. He highlights the strength that comes from diversity in plants and walks gardeners through sowing, cooking recipes at harvest and saving seeds through the winter. 

First published in 1997, Heirloom Vegetable Gardening has since gone out of print, with used copies selling online for as much as $300. MOTHER EARTH NEWS has brought the guide back as a digital book on CD-ROM.

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