MAKING A GARDEN IS COOL, BUT… WHAT ABOUT THE SEED?
Today in Gardenprue we are going to open an article in which we expect the participation and experiences of each one who has experimented with various types of seed in their own garden. Today we want to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of buying seeds or obtaining them from varieties of our acquaintances, that is, “those of a lifetime” .
IN THE SEED IS THE FUTURE PLANT AND ALL ITS CHARACTERISTICS
From the moment you plant a bean or lentil at home or at your school between soaked cotton balls in a glass of yogurt and see how it germinates, your conception of what a seed is changes. It is no longer just something you have to spit out when you find it in tangerine wedge. You know that what seems annoying while you eat a fruit, is a future plant. We should never lose that perspective. And in that little seed is everything . How will the fruits be, their flavor , their color, their ripening time, their needs for light, water, their resistanceto pests and diseases, its ability to withstand inclement weather, droughts and flooding … absolutely everything is encoded in its genes and therefore, the choice of seeds constitutes a good percentage of the success of a garden. Let’s do what Shakespeare wrote. Purchased seeds or own seeds, that is the question.
WHAT DO WE LOOK FOR IN GENERAL FROM A SEED?
It is tremendously easy to demand the conditions of the ideal seed. That it be productive, with the maximum flavor in the edible part that we will take advantage of and resistant to inclement, pests and diseases. Unfortunately not everything is possible but generation after generation, the trend is to achieve these characteristics.
A really comfortable option. If we are paying for a seed it is for something. This seed is the consequence of the crossing of two previously selected pure lines that are going to give us, in theory, the desired characteristics. And I say in theory because it also depends on the treatment that is given. They are not “super seeds” that are proof of everything. Seed houses, whether ecological or not, invest a lot of resources in obtaining the seed by crossing varieties and selecting generations and generations until they achieve the desired characteristics. Be careful … On many occasions the terms are confused and many people think that commercial seeds are transgenic per se. Commercial seeds are the product of crossesforced between two plants of different characteristics, resulting in a hybrid or F1 generation with the desired characteristics. But all are natural fertilizations between two pure lines of the same species. There is no genetic intrusion from the hand of man.
- It is a good option if you do not have much experience in the garden and are just starting out. They are usually seeds with a lot of stamina and are usually productive.
- If you want to get good productions even having experience, there are very good commercial varieties for the garden with which you can obtain flavor and production.
- They do not represent an excessive expense with respect to the total amount of the orchard. Unless they are very special varieties.
- As a disadvantage we have to say that if seeds of these hybrids are saved, we will not obtain the same results in the following season. The genetic information changes in the generation after the seed is sold and we will obtain not so good results. Conclusion: We will have to buy seed every time we want to plant.
- We do not recover traditional varieties.
Now it is the turn of the operation that many of you will put into practice every year and that is to obtain our own seeds of traditional varieties, those that are selected year after year and that many come from our most remote grandparents and ancestors. In reality, it is the same operation that seed houses do, but let’s say less technical. We simply keep the fruits that have turned out the best in the year to save their seeds. The procedure is very simple:
Every year you should look in your garden fruits for those that you think have the desirable characteristics for the following year. The tastiest, those with late or early setting depending on what interests us (to be able to harvest for a little longer), those that better withstand the rigors of the climate, those that a certain insect has attacked less … This is what we call mass selection of seeds and constitutes the practice that has been done for years and years, generation after generation, century after century until obtaining the varieties that we know today.
It is not good that we have only the seed of a single fruit, the best. This is a big mistake. We may be losing very valuable genetic information in other “not so good and beautiful” fruits that we never know when they might be useful.
- If you already have experience in the garden, it will be very rewarding to try new seeds , obtain your own and experiment without fear of losing part of the production because the seed has not grown well.
- It is a very valuable way of maintaining traditional varieties that are falling into oblivion. It is one of the great tasks of seed banks, both state and owned. Does not matter. The point is to maintain genetic diversity.
- On many occasions, the local traditional varieties of the place are the ones that best support the conditions to which they are subjected because they have been developed and selected in that climate.
- You will save a few euros every year by not having to buy tooooo all the seeds of your garden forecast.