|Why Save Seeds?|
Commercial plant breeders like varieties that will make them lots of money – those they can sell in bulk. Many of the newer varieties they sell have been designed for large-scale horticulture, rather than being bred for gardeners. For example, commercial growers pre- fer crops that ripen simultaneously because they are more efficient to harvest. Gardeners struggle to cope with gluts, and prefer to harvest over a longer period.
Because it preserves our vegetable diversity
It is thanks to seed savers that many of our vegetables are still in existence. Varieties which are not profitable for seed companies would go extinct without gardeners saving the seed. We are already seeing increasingly unpredictable weather conditions due to climate change. Preserving as many plant varieties as possible gives us the best chance of finding those which will adapt to new conditions and diseases.
Because your veg will be suited to where you live
Commercial plant breeders also like varieties that will grow relatively well all over the coun- try. But it’s far more useful to have plant that will do really well in the particular conditions where you live. A variety that has been developed in Wales is likely to be better adapted to our climate and conditions than one from Kent for example.
Because it saves money
Many vegetable varieties sold by big seed companies are F1 hybrids. These come from plants which have been carefully crossed and are often very productive. The down side is that any seeds you collect won’t be ‘true-to-type’ – that is, they won’t be the same as their parents. This might be fine if you like experimenting, but if you want the same F1 plants you’ll have to buy more seed. If you save some of your own non-hybrid seed and swap with friends you’ll be saving money every year.
Because it celebrates our plant heritage
Each variety of fruit and vegetable has its own special character, and heirloom varieties often have a fascinating story behind them. The best way to safeguard this is to keep growing them, so we have a living library of plant heritage. This also means that the variety can continue evolving and adapting. We can preserve seed in a seed bank, but we can only really enjoy them if they are in our gardens as well.