For many of us, the end of the outdoor growing season is too quickly approaching. Plants, like any other living being, need some time to acclimate to a new environment. Seeds carry a sort of genetic memory from the parent plant, passing on adaptive information about climate, soil, and pests. Each year you can choose the healthiest, hardiest plants with the yummiest vegetables in your garden, and save their seeds for the next year.
Through your own careful selection, you will eventually end up with your own quasi-heirloom seeds. Quasi- because seeds from the same parent plant have to be continually produced for about 50 years in order to be considered officially heirloom. They’ll be specifically adapted to the growing conditions in your garden, and even especially suited to your own taste preferences (in time).
You can also experiment with cross-pollination and create something unique. It would be fun and you’d be doing your part for biodiversity, so vital for a sustainable food supply, not to mention what it does for your dinner plate. You’ll save money, too, not having to buy seeds every year. You can trade with others in your region who have also saved their seeds, and try different varieties of vegetables for free.
Another significant advantage in being the one who decides which qualities to encourage in your garden is that you’re no longer subject to the seeds that big agra has chosen for shipping quality and longer storage. You can select for flavor and ease of care. It’s personally empowering and satisfying, and it’s not difficult or overly time-consuming. Learn more about Food & Seed Sovereignty. Most importantly – you’ll be GMO-free.
Seed storage (with printable version)
Tutorial including a glossary of terms you should know and a breakdown of which seeds to try for the beginner, experienced and expert.
Another tutorial, with great descriptions for specific vegetables from another beginner seed-saver.
And let’s not forget, a ton of seeds are edible! Take advantage of that, too. They’re very healthy. Here’s a list of edible seeds.