One of the things I like to do every year is to review what worked, what didn't work, what went well, what could be improved. One big goal in 2020 was to save more seeds to share out with people to grow their own gardens. So, while I harvested a lot of herbs that were shared out and saved, I also let a lot of plants go to seed and gathered plant heads in the autumn to save. From there, I processed all seeds through a little japanese screen system.
The small screen system worked well, although I was out winnowing seeds in below freezing temperatures a few times when the wind was just right. From there, the labeling and bagging went well, and I saved thousands of seeds and stored them in the cold storage for the winter in bulk paper envelopes that were stored in larger airtight containers buckets and bins.
As we hit the new year, I started bagging seeds down and labeling them all to share in seed grants. I divided saved seeds Into hundreds and hundreds of envelopes that I shared throughout the US. I kept some of each plant seed type in the seed bank I maintain so that there is a backstore of seeds in case something happens.
I saved easier seeds this first year I tried in bulk, and plan to expand to include more plants I grow, and I hope to reach over 100 seed varieties saved next year. The key is to being mindful of the plants and where they grow, using permaculture and organic methods to maintain disease free healthy plants, to wait to harvest the heads until the right time, to fully dry all seed heads first, and to carefully thresh and winnow so that clean, dry, seeds are remaining, and then of course, store them properly.
I love a challenge. I like learning new things, expanding and making systems that create sustainable sharable mutual aid systems and processes that shares the bounty with many, without overworking the few. While I would like a bigger seed cleaning system, my little screen set worked well, and I think is fine for a few thousand of each type of seed each year.
Part of our plan is ongoing social permaculture, and the giving back and supporting community in all that we do. Seeds are a part of that system, and an important part of our master plan every year.
I am a certified aromatherapist, clinical herbalist, organic gardener, plant conservationist, photographer, writer, designer, artist, nature lover, permaculture designer, health justice activist, whole foods maker, and mother of two unschooled boys in south central Wisconsin.