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Preserving Genetics: The Seed Is What You Need

Learn about the importance of seeds from Deonna Marie. Learn about the importance of seeds from Deonna Marie.


We are dependent on plants for everything from food to clothing to shelter. A world of flourishing plants is necessary for our survival, but with each passing day we face the harsh reality that our environment is increasingly threatened by habitat loss. It is estimated that 60,000 to 100,000 plant species today are threatened with extinction. With that in mind, we are going to talk about the importance of preserving genetics and collecting seeds so that our valuable crops will be there for future generations.

Efforts to save and preserve plants have sprung up all around the world. These efforts are divided into two methods, in-situ and ex-situ. In-situ, or “in place,” means preserving a plant within its native habitat. Ex-situ preservation is carried out by removing and preserving the plant outside of its native habitat.

Seed banks are an obvious example of ex-situ preservation. The most common ones sell heirloom and open-pollinated fruit and vegetable varieties. There are also plant gene banks, which broadly preserve any materials from which plants can be regenerated — whether seeds, roots or bulbs. There are lots of seed banks offering virtually every kind of crop genetics online, just make sure you go with a reputable one.

If seed banks are not your thing, you can save your own seeds from past harvests to keep their genetics going. I personally like to keep seed saving simple and easy. First, wait for the seeds to mature and dry before you harvest them. Your best seeds come from your strongest, healthiest plants. Select the parent plants based on overall health as well as other characteristics you find important. If you’re interested in growing plants that will breed true, collect seeds from single species that are growing away from other colors of that species. This will minimize the chances of collecting a seed that has been cross-pollinated.

You can also share seeds with friends and other growers. The more people there are growing your seeds, the more likely those genetics are to survive. If you have a crop catastrophe, you can always reach out to your peers to replenish your seeds. This assures that you can keep planting that same plant for years to come.

Last but not least: drying. It is very important to keep your seeds dry once harvested. I like to put them into a paper bag or paper envelope for safe keeping.

Plant genetic preservation and seed saving are part of a movement everyone can get involved in. Do your best to keep your favorite crops going, but don’t worry too much if even your well-preserved species change over time. Mutation is natural, and you never know what you might discover with the next generation of plants.

Until next time, grow big or go home. xoxo

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Deonna Marie is the hottest hydroponics expert on the planet.
Last modified on Monday, 17 September 2012 16:37

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