My garden is my seed bank - full of all sorts of vegetable seeds that emerge when the conditions are right for them. In amongst the perennial plants and trees, an abundance of self-seeding annuals just keep coming back year after year. What a gift! Knowing how to save seed too is such a fabulously useful skill. In my latest short film I demonstrate two simple ways to save seeds from cucumber, and these methods are also useful for other similar plants - tomato too.
From my self-seeding kitchen garden, I have a such a wonderful time foraging through an abundant and diverse range of plants for leafy greens and salad leaves - often coming inside to the kitchen with over 20 varieties of leaf to add to my meals.
Free Seeds Year After Year
The added bonus of focussing on saving seed and encouraging self-seeing plants is that you don't need to keep buying your seed every year, and each year you have the chance to help your seeds further adapt to your particular conditions - micro-climate, soil type and water availability.
Value the Things that Thrive
To increase the abundance of food in your garden, look out for the things that seem to thrive without your loving attention. In my garden there is a range of both perennial and annual plants that do. Some examples of this are: coriander, parsley, lettuce, mustard spinach, sacred basil, cherry tomatoes, garlic chives, welsh onions, turmeric, pumpkin, sweet potato, Brazilian spinach... I know I can always find food in every season. As well as nurturing this cultivated ecology, an edible wilderness, I also save seeds so I can store some for successional plantings to stretch the length of harvest time, but also simply to share them. Learning how to save seed, and propagate seed, are invaluable skills we need to have and pass on. The benefits this approach could bring to the health and resilience of families and communities is definitely now recognised. I encourage you to dive into it - it's amazing! When it comes to getting free vegetable and seeds from your garden, here are my five tips:
Start with non-hybrid seeds so you can save from year to year.
Allow at least 5% of your vegetables to go to seed for abundance (one lettuce = 10,000 seeds!)
Encourage self-seeding vegetables to flourish and adapt to your garden - let the healthiest, tastiest and most resilient go to seed.
Let your garden soil be your seed bank too, and be delighted by the flourishing of fabulous food without having to plant - the seeds sprout when they recognise that the conditions are good for them. (use this as an indicator for when to plant out other seeds).
Collect and exchange seeds locally.
If you enjoyed this film and post, don't forget to subscribe to both my blog (on this page) and YouTube channel: Our Permaculture Life Here are a couple of links to previous films and articles about seed saving.