Yesterday Frøsamlerne (danish seed savers) had meetings for new (and old) members, in two regions of Denmark. I participated in arranging the meeting in Copenhagen region.
We talked on how and which seeds are suitable for our exchange list, and which are not, eg. varieties in generel commerce. How do we take care of our genetic and cultural heiritage?
Frøsamlerne have a program for adoption of the more valuable varieties. Often we need adoptants for the more easy inbreeders.
Everybody shared what species they took a special interest in, and we discussed how to keep these varieties pure. Wether they were clones, inbreeders, insect pollinated, wind pollinated or pollinated by hand. Isolation in distance, time, by house or tall vegetaion, or by alternative feedingcrops, as well as growing out a control to secure purity.
Selection is a issue when deciding which individual will parentage the next generation, but all our cultural practice, cleaning and storing the seeds rogue out the less suited individuals. Every action affects the future of the variety!
Though weather was cold, the sun shined, so we went outside to clean seed of amarenth, carrot, radish and midsummer rye. Ordinary drip saucers works brilliantly in cleaning small batches of seed. Rotating movements layers the seeds and debris, and the debris can easily be blow over the edge, so you end up with clean seeds in the saucer. Another method is to rub the seeds in a cloth bag. It gently rubs away fungus, which when seeding could kill a lot of the seedlings.
Some seeds are best processed wet. For this demonstration we used an eggplant, cut up and dumped in a bowl of water. Good seeds sinks to bottom, bad seeds and pulp flow. After a few changes of water seeds are catched in a sieve and ready for drying on a plate.
After drying seeds, there are numerous ways to store them. I you store fro year to year a paperbag in a closet is fine. If you want to keep seeds in long term storage, refridgerator or freezer should be considered. Allthough seeds can be kept in long time this way, you can also easily destroy them in the process. Its always nice to have a “security copy”.