Free Heirloom Seeds

Oh boy have I been wanting to use that headline! 😉 Free Heirloom Seeds™ is what everybody wants, right? Well, me too. And to some degree, the heirloom part is even true in this case. I’m offering 5 bags of spinach seeds from my garden, seeds I saved in 2009. Maybe one year is not entirely what you would define as heirloom, as 2009 was my first year collecting seeds, but anyway, if you want a bag to experiment with, please send me your address either via the contact page or email and I’ll send a bag to you. If you have a garden blog I can also post a link to your blog.

I have only tested two spinach seeds last summer to do a quick check of their ability to germinate, so please don’t be too disappointed, if the seeds won’t grow for some reason, but I think they will.

I’m curious to find out if any bags of seeds will be confiscated by the Empire. Being spinach seeds I believe they have a chance of passing through the system. If the bags were full of Marijuana seeds it would be a completely other story 😉 I mean, outlawing a plant?? Isn’t outlawing plants the same as outlawing roads, because roads can be used by bank robbers?

ANYWAYS – if you get a bag of seeds it would be fun hearing about your experiences with it. There are 5 bags up for grabs, and one bag per person, each with about 200 seeds. If enough people are interested I can make more bags, but at the moment my fingers are hurting from separating seeds, as spinach seeds have an amazingly rough outer layer and sit closely together.

I don’t know about you but I’m beginning to look forward to spring! 😉

Update 2011-02-12:

I have sent out all my spare seeds! 😀

9 comments on “Free Heirloom Seeds

  1. -

    Thomas,

    Do you know if these seeds were open pollinated? Many seed companies sell mostly hybrid seeds which means that harvested seeds won’t come true. I’ve given up on the regular seed catalogues because they don’t clearly identify their open pollinated seeds. I now buy only heritage seeds because they will all be open pollinated.

    Dan Jason at the Seed and Plant Sanctuary for Canada has a very good how-to on vegetable seed saving at http://www.seedsanctuary.com/articles/seedsaving.cfm

    Mike

  2. -

    @Mike: Thank you for the link!
    The seeds that produced the seeds in the above article were organic, non-F1 hybrids according to the seed company website. I don’t know if that makes them open pollinated though?…

  3. -

    Organic is good but not directly related to whether or not the seeds will come true. F-1 means that it’s a first generation cross. Non-F1 simply means that more than one generation of breeding is involved. It is not likely that the seeds harvested will come true to what you grew. That’s not necessarily bad because the parents were selected for desirable characteristics.

    Open pollinated come true because the genetic characteristics have been stabilized over generations.

    As I said, the only way to be sure that seeds harvested from this year’s plants will produce the same plants next year, is to use open pollinated seeds aka heirloom seeds.

    Mike

  4. -

    @Mike: What exactly do you mean by seeds coming true? Is it when the 2010 generation of spinach looks and tastes like the 2009 generation of spinach? I’m thinking of ways to test this, like growing plants from 2009 seeds together with plants from 2010 seeds, but I think that would mess up the genes instantly, like with humans.
    What is common practice, do you scrap every seed from last year, or?…
    Separating plant generations by more than a mile (2 km) as stated in you link above is not very practical in my garden 😉
    Anyway, I’m planning on sowing my saved spinach seeds this year, and if I’m lucky I can probably dig up some photos of the mother plants from 2009 and do a comparison.

  5. -

    Seeds coming true means that the seeds will produce plants that are the same as the parent.

    No, I harvest seeds from year to year but I grow only heritage seeds so I know that that I will always get plants the same as I had the previous year.

    The plants will adjust to my area over time and be hardier and stronger. I also like the idea of preserving genetic diversity by preserving heritage varieties. It’s also a good way to keep costs down. 🙂

  6. -

    @Mike: I agree, saving seeds does make a lot of sense.

  7. -

    Thomas,

    I was looking back over this thread and your comment about growing plants from 2009 seeds together with plants from 2010 seeds made me realize that I skipped over how you get the seeds from open pollinated varieties to come true. You have to isolate the flower from pollinators and do the pollinating yourself. Once pollinated you have to keep the flower isolated from pollinators until fruit appears. One of the best books that I’ve come across is Seed to Seed: Seed Saving Techniques for the Vegetable GardenerSuzanne Ashworth. It’s available at the http://www.bookdepository.com

  8. -

    @Mike: Thank you for explaining, and thank you for the tip about the book. I’ll definitely consider getting hold of a copy, as I have seen it mentioned a couple of times now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *