Seed saving is a fun and easy way to back up food security for your family as well as providing them with fresh, organic produce.
Many new members to our group are surprised when they find out that access to our seed bank is free for members. The only obligation is, if you do take some seed from the bank; you save some seed from those plants when you grow them to donate back. This does a number of things for us as a community. Firstly, it keeps the stock fresh and viable. It grows diversity within our bioregion and it ensures the seedlings/plants are stronger and better suited to our local growing conditions. Diversity and community sufficiency are the key to a population and bioregion that can better survive shortages and pandemics.
As a self confessed seed-nut, I was able to supply friends and neighbours during lockdown with 230 seed packets from my own ‘stash’. I hope that some of that plant stock still survives, nourishing my community.
Our seed bank volunteers produce our own seed packets from repurposed waste office paper, using origami techniques. We are currently doing inventory and creating a searchable data base as in this last year, the bank has outgrown its usual container and requires expansion due to the generous and ample donations from our members.
The best Australian publication on the subject of saving seeds is the Seed Savers Handbook.
The handbook is a complete reference for growing, preparing and conserving 117 traditional varieties of food plants
It was written in 1993 by Michel and Jude Fanton, founders of The Seed Savers’ Network, especially for Australian and New Zealand cultures. It is however applicable to all situations.
The Seed Savers’ Handbook has 180 pages with stunning original illustrations and is a must have for anyone who wishes to save their own seed and become more self sufficient.
Clara current president of Permaculture Central Coast (Claras Urban Mini Farm) always takes her favourite varieties and saves seeds or propagates them from cuttings. By spreading them out in the community even if her patch floods or is levelled by a Wallaby she feels secure knowing that her favourite species will still be available in friend’s gardens.
Should you wish to get in contact or even better, join us at one of our gatherings, we hold them every month at different community gardens all over the Central Coast.
Words and images by Jen Jones, PCC Seed Bank Coordinator