I do a lot of things to enhance my family’s food security and participate in many activities that I hope will support my communities resilience but the most important thing I do is save seed. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a total novice but I’m reading and experimenting and learning all I can so I can become more adept. I have joined a local seed saving guild and, as with most things agricultural, I find the more I know the more I learn I don’t know.

My goal this year is to grow out three varieties of squash. I’m choosing Oregon Sweet meat, Delicata and Bennings Green Tint. This gives me one of each squash family, Maximo, Mushata and Pepo. They won’t cross with each other. I will miss the many varieties I generally grow but the idea is that I’ll grow a lot and trade with friends to get some variety. The trick is going to be isolating my squash patch from my neighbors.

I’m going to use two techniques. The first is season extension. I’ll be starting my squash indoors, something I never bother with. I hope that if I get a one month head start, my plants will be flowering well before my neighbors. I’m also backing this up with a plan to tape the blossoms of the female squash closed and hand pollinating several vines. I’ll mark the hand pollinated fruits and save the seeds from just those plants. The downside to this method is that I want to save the best plants for seed and I won’t know that I have chosen the strongest vines until they mature.

I’ve been all over the internet, looking for some documentation forms that our group can use. It’s vital to have a consistent method for tracking process and results. After several fruitless hours I decided to make my own form. This is the information I think we will need.

Name of plant
Seed source
Year saved
Where planted
When planted
How isolated
How pollinated
When harvested
condition of plant and fruit
How many seed saved
How gathered
How dried
How saved

There is also a space for comments. If there has been drought or flood, insect damage or disease, this needs to be noted. It’s surprisingly hard to remember these details over time and the information could be vital.

I have joined a couple of internet forums this week. Idigmygarden and Seed Savers Alliance both look good. Primal Seeds, International Seed Savers Institute and Seed to Seed Exchange also have great resources. I love the feeling I’m getting from doing this. There is sense of belong to something much bigger than yourself. This makes me better nderstand my role in a global community. National boundaries are about politics. Food is about people. One is artificial and the other ordained by nature. Maintaining a secure seed bank, specific to your soil and climate, is the best way I know to ensure that you and your kids, their kids and their kids eat. It goes beyond voting with your pocketbook. It means voting with your sweat. It’s my act of rebellion in the face of a toxic food system.

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