Sow Your Own
(Page 5 of 6)
Scratch large seeds with a file or piece of sandpaper but take care not to injure the embryo. Rub smaller seeds between two pieces of fine sandpaper to abrade their outer surface.
Some herbaceous perennial seeds like angelica and primrose need a period of cold (stratification) to break their dormancy. This is easily done by soaking overnight, placing seed in a plastic bag with moist sand or sphagnum and refrigerating for at least four weeks and no longer than about three months.
Folks don’t seem to agree on just how many years old or how much history a plant must have entwined in its roots to be officially considered an heirloom. Some people say that any open pollinated seed that’s collected, shared and grown in subsequent generations constitutes an heirloom – or at least an heirloom in the making. Definitions aside, if it weren’t for gardeners interested in collecting their own seed, many interesting old plant varieties would be lost forever.
And what better way to connect the past with the future than through the cycle of garden seasons.
We hope you will consider adding variety to your gardens this summer by doing a little seed sowing today. Even if you just start a few plants from seed and grow them this year, take some time to get to know them. If you like what you discover, collect some seeds and pass them along to your friends and family.
Next year, you can do it all over again in a cycle that is as natural as the seasons and as ancient as life itself.
Tina Marie Wilcox and Susan Belsinger are the co-authors of a number of books, writing from their respective homes in Leslie, Arkansas, and Brookeville, Maryland. Susan also penned Not Just Desserts: Sweet Herbal Recipes; visit www.grit.com/shopping/detail.aspx?ItemNumber=2436 for ordering information.
Resources for Heirloom Seed
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
2278 Baker Creed Road
Mansfield, MO 65704
18001 Shafer Ranch Road
Willits, CA 95490
The Colonial Nursery at Colonial Williamsburg
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
P.O. Box 1776
Williamsburg, VA 23187
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