Yesterday when I got home from work, I found this really great surprise in my mailbox:
|First Seed Catalog of the Year!|
It may seem early, but the timing is actually excellent. I’ve started putting together a presentation on planning the garden for seed saving, to be given in January, and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds’ big catalog full of open-pollinated varieties (no hybrids included!) is going to be helpful.
The catalog includes a basic guide to seed saving — on pages 352-3 — which I may be able to reference in my talk, but so far I’ve mostly used Suzanne Ashworth’s Seed to Seed in putting together a chart of some important features and seed-saving guidelines of common garden crops. It probably helps that I save seeds from my own garden for some crops.
Anyone going organic and trying to exclude GM foods from the garden is also going to find useful information in The Whole Seed Catalog. For example, on page 61, in the corn section, there’s a somewhat astonishing note:
“Each year we have a harder time getting seeds that test GMO-free. It is getting to the point where most heirloom corn varieties test positive for GMO’s; even growers in remote areas are having problems with Monsanto’s GMO corn.”
And on page 11:
“Our company used to carry up to two dozen varieties of heirloom corn, until we began testing for GMO contamination in 2006. Now, we are barely able to offer half that number, since the remainder have tested positive. That’s half these fine old historic varieties — gone, until or unless we can find clean seed for them!”
It doesn’t help that corn is wind pollinated. That pollen can probably travel for miles on a strong enough breeze.
There’s an old joke about leaving a tip that ends “plant your corn early.” That closing line may need to shift to a more serious version: “order your corn early,” for people who want guaranteed GMO-free seeds for their corn patch.
Meanwhile, I will keep working on handouts for my talk, enjoying the great catalog, and planning my garden to allow for saving a few more kinds of seeds.