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Save the Tomatoes: Plant the Seeds of Biodiversity

Save the Tomatoes: Plant the Seeds of Biodiversity
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The last tomatoes are ripening on the vine. Bean pods are turning brittle. Summer is coming to an end. Now is the time to become a guerrilla gardener. You can do that in two ways.

One is to save seeds. Seed saving is relatively straightforward for most plants, but sites such as Seed & Plant Sanctuary for Canada offer tips that will increase your chances for success.

The other way you can improve your garden is to support seed companies that sell organic, open-pollinated varieties. Open-pollinated seeds are the best choice for home gardeners because, unlike hybrids, they tend not to be as hungry for fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and water. The big seed companies prefer to sell hybrids because their customers have to buy new seeds every year. If you save hybrid seeds, your next crop may look nothing like the one you planted this year, if the seeds germinate at all. (There is an excellent overview of hybrid vs. open-pollinated seeds on Primal Seeds.)

When you order your dream (i.e., seed) catalogs this winter, pay attention to what they offer. If you want hardier plants and more intense flavor, forget the hybrids and drool over the open-pollinated (aka heirloom) varieties. They are the ones that can learn how to adapt to your ecosystem, unlike their vigorous but ecologically limited hybrid cousins.

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Photo from Ajith_chatie via Flickr Creative Commons

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65 comments

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8:34PM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

Include the seeds from other plants!

7:11AM PDT on Sep 26, 2011

Good to know as I plan the spring plantings for next year

10:25PM PDT on Sep 24, 2011

Thanks for the article!

1:10AM PDT on Sep 17, 2011

Thanks! I am glad I found this!

9:14AM PDT on Sep 14, 2011

Save seeds and share them!

9:39PM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

Its not just food seeds losing diversity, but also flowers and ornamental plants. Please share and save seeds!

12:30PM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

Thanks for the info......sent it to my daughter in Seattle.

7:45AM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

I have been saving tomato seeds for years, from local Italian gardeners to the heirloom organic verities I have grown during my 25 yrs here with large gardens by my 1900 home.

6:14AM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

Great info...thank you

1:09AM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

There are good resources out there for GMO-free seeds; http://www.gardengirltv.com/messageboard/showthread.php?t=90

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