Seeds are at the heart of the garden and the source of pretty much all of our food.
This weekend, we were delighted to host a seed-saving workshop at Global Gardens with Becca from Green City along with Michele Fitzsimmons of Edible Landscaping and Chris Fowler a.k.a. the Chilli Man (you can find him at Riverside Real Food Market selling his infamous Chilli Sauce).
With the rain pouring outside, we were glad to remain warm and dry in the Global Gardens greenhouse. We kicked off with a discussion about reasons why to save seed. Ideas ranged from 'it's fun' to 'preparing for the zombie apocalypse'. We all agreed it is beneficial for wildlife and for community. Michele highlighted how seed-saving can build crop resilience in changing climates whilst Becca spoke about the environmental benefits of saving seed compared to buying it.
We then moved on to explore the different ways of pollinating, from wind to wildlife and the differences between open pollinated seed and F1 cultivated seed. A complex topic - we covered the advantages and disadvantages of both. There was general consensus that whilst F1 crops can provide reliable flavours and yield, open pollinated seeds support the full plant cycle and wider ecosystem.
After a cuppa and time for a tour around the garden, we regrouped to talk about the practicalities of SAVING SEED! We took a little tour of the polytunnel and everyone was invited to pick a ripe tomato to save seeds from.
Becca and Chris, experienced tomato seed-savers, explained a few ways to save tomato seeds. Fermenting method vs drying. You can find out more about saving tomato seeds on Becca's tomato seed-saving diaries.
Michele spoke about her approach and reason for saving beans. Not only for seed - but as a protein source through the year.
Poppy then covered some of the basics of saving flowers. Highlighting that flowers often can be left to just get on with it.
At the end of the session, we invited all participants to select a crop to save seeds from. The plan is to reunite next year to share the seeds we have hopefully saved! If you would like to get involved, get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to learn more about seed-saving, we highly recommend checking out the Real Seed website (they are also a great place to buy a real range of great seeds). Based in Pembrokeshire, these seeds seem to do well in Welsh weather!