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Mahatma Gandhi

mahatma gandhi and seed saving shidonna raven garden and cook

Have you ever been asked, if you could meet anyone past or present who would it be? If we were asked that question, one of them would surely be Gandhi. He is by far one of the most interesting man of the post colonial age. Among many of his inspiring beliefs was the belief in Seed Freedom. Ask any gardener and they will immediately connect with this issue. In my research about gardening at the local library I came upon a book that caught my interest right away. Eliot Coleman talks a lot about sustainability and the industrial complexes that surround and hinder the natural and Organic approach to gardening and farming. Not to mention how the industrial complex surrounding farming works against sustainability. Eliot also talks a lot about paradigm shifts in the approach of gardening and the quality of the food we consume. I believe him and Gandhi would have gotten along very well. So, what does that have to do with seeds. Everything, really. When I read Beginning Seed Saving by Jim Ulager, I was very inspired and relieved.

Ulager discussed how the economics of seed producers discouraged seed saving and also encouraged myths about seeds. All three man highlight a very important issue in gardening and food growing. Gandhi might have said in freedom itself. A people able to gather what God has freely provided are able to feed themselves if willing to cultivate their own foods. Gandhi might say freedom. While Coleman might say sustainability. While Ulager might say save. Many things have been used to oppress people in the long history of the world. Food is one of them. When you begin your own garden you will rediscover a quite peace in growing your own food.

Who knew seeds were so controversial? Seeds are often the beginning for many gardeners as from it all things grow even the livestock and wild game we may eat. I encourage you to read Ulager’s book Beginning Seed Saving. It is a very informative and liberating book. We know some basics of seed saving but Ulager gives us an in depth look at just how to do it. It is also worth noting that some of the foods we consume we can not collect seeds from. For one reason or another, some believe on purpose. Typically industrial food producers do not want you to have access to seeds because you will cut into their business if you grow your own food. Seed producers also lead you to believe that perfectly good seeds can not be used beyond a certain date. Ulager begs to differ. Coleman so clearly points out that those business involved in the industrial complex that surrounds farming are constantly trying to convenience farmers that they must have certain products year after year in order to grow food and these claims simply are not true. And such pursuits make it unsustainable for the farmer to financial continue.

We have begun saving a few seeds of our own. We have pumpkin, navy bean, lentil bean, pinto bean and cantaloupe thus far. We would save papaya but think this fruit is best grown in warmer more tropical climates. Here are a few basics about starting to save your own seeds:

  1. Identify the location of the seed. This is not always obvious. In this case Ulager’s book can come in very handy.
  2. Free your seed of any plant matter that is not seed.
  3. Clean your seed
  4. Allow your seed to dry (spread them out on a plate)
  5. Store your seed in a cool and dry place discouraging growth until you are ready to sow the seed. So, no water, soil or sun.

It is important to note that not all seeds are the same. Sometimes the child of the seed, the seed of the seed you sowed, is different from the parent of the seed. So, if you like a particular seed, it is important that you save as many of those seeds as possible so you can grow that same plant in some cases the same variety of that type of plant. So, sometimes a good seed becomes prized and thus preserved. You might do the same with some of your seeds so read Ulager closely on how to preserve your seeds so they are there for you when you are ready to sow.

What did you learn about seed saving that you did not know? How can seed saving be a liberating experience for you? What are your thoughts on Gandhi, Coleman & Ulager’s points about seeds and farming? How does this influence how you approach your food consumption and gardening? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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