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28 January, 2011

Blog Anniversary

Who knew?  This blog is now three years old having started the 29th of January 2008.  To celebrate, I'm posting the bibliography and other things from the Essentials of Vegetable Seed Saving lecture at The Learning Garden, 10-3 on the 29th.  

A Seed Saving Guide for Gardeners and Farmers, Organic Seed Alliance © 2010 OSA This publication is a free download from the Organic Seed Alliance and we have also made it available here (for $7 to cover our costs). It is a succinct guide with few frills but lots' of good data. For the cost, you can't go wrong. The format of the seminar has been based on this document's organization. Organic Seed Alliance is a Washington state based non-profit relying on contributions to fight the invasion of hybrids and GMO seeds in our lives. Their vision is large and inclusive.
Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties, Deppe, Carol © 2000, Chelsea Green Publishing The subtitle gets more to our point: The Gardeners' and Farmers Guide to Plant Breeding and Seed Saving, I had bought this book about three years ago and, for whatever reason, I ignored it. In preparing to teach seed saving, the subtitle pulled me in: Suddenly, it was a different book. She is very, very funny and her stories of seed saving are heart warming; I felt I had met a kindred spirit – I want to drive to Oregon and 'shoot the compost' about seeds over a brew or tea or whatever she's having with her. I'll buy. A good reference – she tells it like is from the winnow pile.
Enduring Seeds: Native American Agriculture and Wild Plant Conservation, Nabham, Gary Paul, © 2002 North Point Press, Though not strictly about saving seeds, this book, along with almost all of Nabham's books give one the reasons to save seeds. All of his books are highly recommended!
Heirloom Vegetables, Stickland, Sue, © 1998 Fireside Books, A wonderful introduction to heirloom vegetables and how and why to grow them! A fabulous read for all prospective vegetable gardeners. And now that the Weaver book (below) is no longer easily available, this is the heir apparent. It is, however, only an introduction and is not nearly as comprehensive as Weaver's.
Heirloom Vegetable Gardening: A Master's Guide to Planting, Seed Saving, and Cultural History,Weaver, William Woys © 2003, Owl Publishing Company, (My copy says 'Henry Holt.') Originally published in 1997, it is now out of print and getting a copy can be hellish. The book sells for just under $100 used on Amazon! It is a wonderful book that needs to be put back in print because the research he put into the book allows this to be one of the most informative books on heirloom vegetables that has ever been published. Mother Earth News has the entire book on a CD – you can find it on their website – of course that doesn't duplicate having one's hands on the book, but you will have all the data.
Seed To Seed, Ashworth, Suzanne © 2002, Seed Savers Exchange, If there is one go-to, authoritative publication on seed saving and all the essential steps to make it work, Ashworth's book fills the bill. It is filled with black and white photographs that clearly illustrate points that would only be confusing without an illustration and it is written in clear, straightforward English. Like all of these books, much time is devoted to discussions of frost and how to work around it, but that's a flaw we in Los Angeles (and elsewhere frost free) have to learn to deal with and work around.

david