Sunday 8th June was a brisk winter’s day, but this didn’t stop 25 hardy seed savers from venturing down to Moss Vale Community Garden to clean and share seeds of our food crops from the recent growing season.
Dr David Murray gave us an informative and interesting talk about peas and beans, the challenges and suggested solutions for growing healthy crops for eating and saving seed. This being David’s speciality, he was able to respond to questions relating to rotation cropping and diseases in peas & beans as well as techniques for keeping the dried seeds viable for the maximum period before replanting.
David points out that the safest place for our seedbank crops is NOT in a seedbank, but rather, being planted out in as many local backyards as possible. Seeds, like us, only have a limited lifespan – parsnip only one year, large seeds like peas and beans about three years and tomatoes up to ten years in ideal (cool, dark, dry) storage conditions. Freezing extends the lifespan of a viable seeds so long as the seeds have been dried in ambient temperatures until the maximum amount of moisture has been removed before sealing and freezing.
As usual, our pot luck lunch provided by all of the members was varied and delicious and we managed to clean a large amount and variety of seeds for registering by Chris Ann into our current seedbank database. At our Spring meeting, we will be asking our members to foster some seed varieties – plant seeds and grow out for more fresh seed to save for next season as well as some for the local seed network seedbank.
A big thankyou to our backyard growers and seedbank members who continue to save seed and make it available to other local growers via our Permaculture Southern Highlands Local Seedbank. Local seed bank members help to stem the tide of food crop biodiversity loss which threatens our future food security. They are also good sources of seeds of crops you won’t find in standard seed company racks – seeds saved by families over generations which are then given to seedbanks to grow out and disseminate to more backyard growers.
Anyone interested in becoming involved with our local seed network can contact me via the Moss Vale Community Garden website:
It is a most satisfying hobby and growers get to complete the cycle of life in our backyards:
plant the seed, grow the plant, save the seed, plant the seed etc ….