by guest blogger Tim Mountz of Happy Cat Farm
My wife and I practice what we call seed-to-seed agriculture on our farm. We like to encourage people to grow their food from seed–and not just in the spring but all year long. For some reason, people are really afraid of starting plants from seed. But it’s actually very easy. Seeds are some of the most resilient things on Earth. Just a few weeks ago, it was reported that a team of Russian scientists found seeds in the Siberian permafrost that where over 37,000 years old, and they got the seeds to germinate, grow, flower, and produce more seeds! That is just such a great reminder of the power of seeds and beacon of hope in the murky world that is our seed industry today.
Today, multi-national seed conglomerates have consolidated the number of seed varieties that are available to growers, creating genetic erosion. Corporate seed giants and their hacks claim that genetically modified organisms will save the world. (Side note: If you are not afraid of GMO’s, to quote Yoda, “You will be, you will be.”) It’s enough to drive a seed farmer crazy. And, dear readers, if you take one thing away from this blog, let it be this: Ask your seed company about seed origin.
I know you have lots to ask already, but origin is so important. So many seed companies today show great pictures of people standing in fields harvesting seeds. The problem is that most of them are getting seeds from Israel, Australia, and even China. And most domestic seeds come from Oregon. Now, I’m not trying to get all Biggie/Tupac, East Coast/West Coast on ya, but my soil is different (I’m in PA), my bugs are different, my needs and wants are different… You get where I am going with this, right? You need to ask seed companies the following questions: How organic is it? Is it an heirloom or open pollinated? And where was it grown? These questions will help our seed system to become more sustainable, resilient, and local. People should be looking for answers that fit the needs that they have and the ones that can help with our food security. (You can see why my wife calls me, the “fist-pounding seed evangelist.”)
So, what can you do? Get more involved in your own personal food system. And grow more food from seed.It really is easy. Here’s what to do:
1. Start with selection and not just a great seed company (like Happy Cat Farm), but select what you want to grow. I always tell people who ask me about starting things from seed to grow what you love. You will always put more energy and time into that and, in turn, have more success.We start more things from seed indoors then most, but most people around here start peppers and tomatoes indoors–those are the biggies. But once you are set up and know what you are doing you can start almost everything inside.
2. Once you have your seeds you will need some seed-starting soil, small pots or trays, a light source, and a warm spot to put them.
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