Growing Your Own Food from Seed

“A true gardener is someone who looks at a seed and sees a plant.”

Indian Summer watermelons with loads of seeds for saving

Watermelons are a mine of seeds that can be saved and replanted

 

Many gardeners often start with planting seedlings or potted plants rather than with seeds but as a seed saver, I’d like to share some important reasons why we should all grow at least some of our home grown food from seed.

 

5 Reasons Why You Should Grow Your Food From Seed


1. Save money! Seeds represent great value for money so investing in even one seed packet will reap huge rewards if you choose the right kind of seeds, but learning to save your own seed means you don’t need to continue to buy it.

If you find a packet of seeds has more than you need, swapping seeds with others is another way you can grow your garden for free or very low cost. 

Find a gardening buddy or group and split the packet contents so you each have what you really need. One dill plant for example, will provide more seeds than one person will ever use.  They are very easy to process and can be shared with others so you can increase the diversity of what you grow in your own garden.

 

Sharing seeds with others saves money

Sharing seeds with others saves money

 

In recent years, the diversity of seeds available worldwide has dropped considerably with many heirloom varieties lost as a result, as small seed saving companies are swallowed up by large multi-nationals (including many agrichemical conglomerates) with profit in mind.  At the same time, commercial seed packets have increased in price but the number of seeds inside has sometimes decreased.

 

2. Food Security begins in your backyard.  If you want control over being able to grow your food plants from seeds that:

  • have not been genetically modified or engineered
  • can be saved and will grow true-to-type so you can save money
  • maintain the genetic diversity that nature provides to protect against pest and disease
  • are locally grown and well adapted for thriving in your own region’s climate
  • have not been grown with chemicals (herbicides, pesticides and fungicides)
  • are not sterile or have ‘Terminator’ genes which prevent them from being able to reproduce
  • preserve favourable characteristics including superb flavour, high yields and slow to bolt to seed

then it’s important to learn more about the source of the seeds you grow and how to save at least one variety.

 

Herb Seed Packets produced by our local seed saving group

Herb Seed Packets produced by our local seed saving group

“With the rising cost of fruit and vegetables, it will become even more essential to the average family’s budget to grow their own food from seed and learn how to seed save.”


3. Healthy, Pest & Disease Resistant Plants. Understanding who is behind the commercial seed companies and their goals and intentions helps us make better decisions about seed selection and appreciate one of the reasons why pest and disease has become such a problem for gardeners worldwide.

More and more of our global food supply is becoming genetically engineered for the benefit of multi-national agrichemical corporations like Monsanto.

GMO is a health hazard worldwide

Genetically modified seeds contaminate organic seeds – know what you are growing and eating

 

Today the seed industry is controlled worldwide by just a handful of corporations.  Sadly, many of our current open-pollinated varieties have only one commercial source.  These multi-nationals buy up small seed companies, reduce the diversity of seeds available to the population and genetically manipulate them to become reliant on the chemicals they sell so they can profit.

 

Genetically modified corn finds its way into all sorts of foods we eat

Genetically modified corn finds its way into all sorts of foods we eat

 

An example of this is some seeds are manipulated to resist a certain pest or disease, so on the surface with clever marketing this seems to ‘solve’ the problem, but these corporations have sacrificed other important characteristics vital for healthy growth.  So then these plants whilst they may resist a particular disease or pest, are much weaker so need constant propping up with chemical fertilisers (sold by the same corporations) in order to grow.  So they are creating the problem in the first place so they can ‘solve’ it for profit.

 

“Consumers need to wise up to such tactics and grow healthy plants the old fashioned way – with healthy soil and heirloom seed varieties.”

 

Heirloom seeds are hardy varieties grown with love over many generations

Heirloom seeds are hardy varieties grown with love over many generations

 

4. Preserve the Genetic Diversity of Heirloom Plant Varieties.  This simply means we can all help retain a wider range of edible plants by preserving or saving at least one or two varieties at home.

Sadly, during the 1900’s there was a staggering drop in the number of heirloom varieties (those handed down from generation to generation) because gardeners stopped saving and trading their own seeds.  As I’ve mentioned, if we rely on commercial seed companies, this trend will continue to happen.

The commercial reality is ‘slow selling seeds’ just stop being produced and quietly disappear.  What this loss means for us is lower genetic variability in our food plants.  This in turn means lower adaptability to stresses such as pest, disease and weather changes.

 

Every time we lose a seed variety, we lose another opportunity to feed ourselves in a world of corporate control, changing climate and shrinking resources.

Melon seeds ready for saving and replanting

Melon seeds ready for saving and replanting

“Seeds are a gift of nature, past generations, and diverse cultures.  It is our inherent duty and responsibility to protect and to pass seeds on to future generations.  Seeds are the first link in the food chain, the embodiment of biological and cultural diversity, and the repository of life’s future evolution.” – Manifesto On The Future of Seed, Vandana Shiva

 

5. Seed Saving is Rewarding and Easy. There’s no doubt about it, saving your own seeds is deeply satisfying.

Last night I made a curry and chopped up cucumber and coriander on top.  Both of these were grown from my garden with seeds I planted this year from last year.  They were healthy, full of flavour and didn’t suffer from any pest or disease attack.  Best of all, they cost me NOTHING!  Kilos of cucumbers from just a few seeds. You can do this too!

 

Growing your own food and saving the seeds is very rewarding

Growing your own food and saving the seeds is very rewarding

 

When you observe your seeds grow and mature from flower to seed this process connects you deeply with nature’s cycles and seasons.  Not only that, but learning how to process seeds that you will use to plant your garden every year, builds self-reliance and a great sense of empowerment.

 

 

Processing dried dill seeds to separate chaff

Learn some simple seed saving skills like separating chaff to clean the seeds

 

 

To find out which are the best kind of seeds to save and where to source them, check out Saving and Sourcing Open-Pollinated Seeds.

If you don’t want to miss future posts, subscribe at the top of the page (and grab your free eBook) or click on the RSS feed below or to the right.

 

© Copyright Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener 2010-2013 – http://www.themicrogardener.com. All rights reserved.

24 Comments

  1. […] and supply certified organic, heirloom and open-pollinated seeds. This goal alone can help preserve healthy seeds for many generations. Plus you’re not eating GM-contaminated or chemically treated food. You get […]

  2. […] Viable seeds of your choice (I recommend organic seeds for growing food so you have total control from seed to plate – See Saving & Sourcing Open-Pollinated Seeds for tips and suppliers). […]

  3. related internet page May 3, 2014 at 11:09 pm - Reply

    related internet page

    Growing Your Own Food from Seed |

  4. […] Start with seedlings rather than seeds. […]

  5. Tod April 15, 2013 at 12:38 am - Reply

    That was an exceptional post and I simply cannot understand the reason why there are not more like this on the first page of the big g search results.
    Why the heck are there so countless youtube clips and advertisements… there needs to be websites like this!

  6. Benefits of Container Gardening | March 13, 2013 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    […] productive incredible edibles: A wide variety of seasonal food crops can be grown successfully in containers including long lasting fruit […]

  7. […] sure if your old seeds are still viable? Sowing them as microgreens is a great solution to use them up […]

  8. Guide to Growing Spring Onions | November 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    […] Grow from Seed – This is dead easy! I save mine from previous crops by waiting until the flower head matures, then chopping it off and leaving in a paper bag until fully dry (about 2 weeks). Then simply shake the seeds into the bag, scoop them out and store in self-seal bags in a cool dry place. If you are buying seed, check my list of seed suppliers. […]

  9. How to Plant out a Herb Garden | October 2, 2012 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    […] established healthy seedlings in your spiral. Raise seeds to seedling stage first before […]

  10. […] Glass Jar + Seed Packet – I save seeds from my garden and there’s nothing worse than having an incredibly high yielding food crop […]

  11. […] 1: Choose open-pollinated, heirloom or heritage varieties of edibles where possible as these have greater vigour and disease […]

  12. […] seeds in spring and summer if you get frost but if you live in a warm-hot climate, plant them […]

  13. […] of free seed: You get a huge number of new plants from just one!  When the flower dies off, a seed head forms – if you don’t pick and save these, they will voluntarily drop to the ground and […]

  14. […] 10 times cheaper than buying seedlings! You can save a ‘packet’ (sorry for the pun!) by saving your own seed.  That’s an average saving of $2.95 – $3.95 for each variety!  PLUS you don’t have […]

  15. […] Save Seeds: It’s quick and cheap to save some seeds from easy to grow herbs like dill, basil and rocket, or veggies like tomatoes and pumpkin which […]

  16. […] solution using everyday materials.  Kids can paint the pegs and make them colourful and if you save seeds from your edible gardens like I do, this makes plant identification a […]

  17. […] are 3 elements to this garden theme – the bean seeds; the beanstalk structure they need to climb up on like Jack did, and the […]

  18. […] to know more? You’ll find ideas in Tips & Tricks and check out How to Grow Your Own Food from Seed; Harvesting Vegetables & Herbs and some simple ideas in Getting A Small Kitchen Garden […]

  19. […] An abundant supply of nutrient dense organically grown food […]

  20. […] is important however, to ONLY buy certified organic seeds that are sold specifically for sprouting – please never buy commercial packeted seeds sold in a […]

  21. […] to say, that’s why I advocate buying organic or heirloom seeds – so you are only growing and eating what comes from nature – no added chemicals or hybridised […]

  22. Jeremy Wilfong March 15, 2011 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    I believe the knowledge and having these seeds will be worth their weight in gold in the future. These corporations will not stop or change any thing while their is still a dollar to be made they and the worlds governments do not take actions to avoid catastrophes. They only react and spend stupid money, time resources on fact finding committees to find out what happened. Sorry but what kind of morons are we? Why do we put up with this? Please somebody tell me. Maybe we are waiting for a real leader to stand up to all this bullshit. I am ready to follow. I can’t lead but I will follow.

    • The Micro Gardener March 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your comment Jeremy. You are right indeed that our precious heirloom seeds will be worth their weight in gold and far more! Without seeds we have no food. Wising up to what’s going on with global seeds (and thus the global food supply) has never been more important or urgent. Educating others by word of mouth and sharing information is vital to ensure as many people realise what is happening. Otherwise, we’ll all be eating genetically modified, tasteless, unsafe food from sterile seeds we have no hope of saving and growing our own food from. There ARE ‘leaders’ or co-ordinators of seed saving networks in most countries who are flying under the radar, doing amazing work. These are not one man armies, but groups of informed, empowered people who want to make a difference to the future of food in their communities. Every person can do a little and still make a BIG difference if we work together. Perhaps this is best summed up by one of my favourite quotes from Margaret Mead:

      “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

      Yes, greed and power are top of the agenda list for companies like Monsanto who gobble up smaller family based seed companies for pure profit and market control. The best way to protect ourselves is to empower ourselves with simple seed saving skills and spread the word! Learning a few basic techniques is enough to start. If we all save one or two plant varieties each, and then swap and share with others in our community or seed saving network, we SHARE the work and are rewarded for a small effort with life giving safe seeds to grow our food crops from. I am constantly amazed by the variety in our community seed bank and we are only a small group!

      We need to think ‘win-win’ and collaborate with friends, neighbours, family and community to help each other. We can also support the companies and growers who are preserving heirloom varieties and growing certified organic seeds. They are already feeling the pressure of not having enough seed for many common crop varieties. More people are needed to save seed, grow it and sell it to the seed companies doing the right thing by consumers. Therein lies an opportunity for people wanting a small home-based business – grow plants, save and sell seeds and know you’re doing something incredibly important for the planet and the future of food.

      There are many more issues surrounding our seeds that I didn’t raise in my post but suffice to say we ALL need to seed save NOW, before it’s too late. If we don’t act we only have ourselves to blame. If this topic is of interest, I am happy to post more on seed saving techniques and resources we can all tap into. If you want to start saving some seed from your garden or find out how to, I suggest you contact your local seed saver network. Hope this gives you some practical ways to take action!

      All the best, Anne.

  23. […] to learn more about seeds? Check out five reasons to start growing your own food from seed or for  more information about a local seed saving network in your area, visit The Seed Savers […]

Leave A Comment

*