Community Support: Lending from My Seed Bank

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post I maintain a rather large seed bank. What is a seed bank? For me, that means regularly grown out and maintained collections of heirloom seeds. Note that I make the distinction of regularly grown out. Many seed banks or seed caches, like the famous Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway, simply store the seeds or genetic material. Storage of seeds is not simple, if you’re interested concerns are addressed here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seed_bank

Pomegranate with seeds

So Why Do I have a Seed Bank?

I like having a selection of seeds to choose what I’m going to grow for the year. It allows me to grow for certain traits I prefer. Examples like being able to choose between tomatoes for sun drying, fresh eating, and sauce making or if I want a squash for sauteing versus baking. I can choose fresh snap beans that are purple, yellow, or green so I can track potential cross-pollination in the seeds I save from them. It also allows me to do breeding work. I can strengthen a weak heirloom variety or select for a strain that does better in my climate. In essence, it gives me more choice to tailor my garden to various and changing needs.

If you’ve got the gardening bug and have ever read a seed catalog, you know how easy it is to want to grow everything in the catalog. This is simply too many seeds for most people to grow in the space they have available. I don’t really have space restrictions on our property. Therefore, I have more freedom in the number of seeds I can reasonably plant. This means I can have a large seed collection to choose from. It also allows me to help friends and family when they want to start their gardens or they want to grow something new but don’t need an entire packet of seeds. 

seeds in a person's hands

Community

This has been a wonderful thing I’ve been able to offer people in my community. Several people suddenly have more time and are interested in gardening. I have been shipping and dropping seeds for free to my friends who have committed to a garden this year, along with advice on planting. The learning curve is steep in the beginning. I always recommend starting small with a few easy to grow varieties. The cool thing about getting seeds from me is I make sure you can grow what you’re getting in your set-up and climate. I also know you actually eat what you’re going to be growing. It’s easy to get lost in a seed catalog and select something that’s pretty, but no one in the house will eat!

I’ve also shipped seeds as a thank you to craftspeople that have made things for us. Mariam of Pure Aloha, who created personal care products, and Cody Sanantonio, who made our amazing wedding rings, are examples.

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