Posted by: ceara08 | March 23, 2009

New Growing Challenge

Last year I signed up to be in a growing challenge but failed miserably on my vegetable garden.  Had a lot of personal stuff happen last gardening season so my garden was pretty much a flop.

This year it will be much better!  Plus I’m way more prepared than I was last year.  Over the winter I did a lot of reading and chatting with other gardeners so I could learn new things.  And learn I did!

Some of my plans I have not posted on this blog because I don’t yet have the plant material in my hands.  Still waiting on someone to put stuff in the mail.  I think perhaps he’s waiting until threat of freezing during shipping is over.  Will be getting some heirloom potato tubers, true potato seeds and some heirloom perennial (that’s what I was told) leek seeds.   I’ll be bragging about those when I finally get it all in the mail.  Hopefully the guy didn’t forget!

So, on to the challenge!  This year’s challenge includes a new bit, as well as the old.  The old challenge was to grow something you never grew before.  This year the challenge is to grow something from seed, and then save seed from that crop to plant next year.  Also the seed (depending on variety) can be donated to a seed bank, traded for other seeds, and even given away for free!

I have already saved seeds in the past but only for tomatoes and peppers usually.  This year I will be saving seeds from many other crops.

From Seed to Seed Challenge

From Seed to Seed Challenge

So here’s the challenge, copied/pasted from that blog.  And a link!  But you can also link to it by clicking on the image above.

Seed to Seed Challenge

Why Grow Your Own Food?

1. Growing your own food tastes better and is more nutritious.

2. Gardening is a good workout and improves mental health.

3. By being outdoors among the elements, you can learn about local wildlife, appreciate small beauty, and become one with the seasons.

4. Growing at home reduces your carbon footprint and energy usage. By gardening organically, you eliminate the petroleum products used in farming equipment, fertilizers, pesticides, food packaging, storage, and transportation.

5. You can have fresh, local, organic produce all year long by planting a four-season garden – long past the day your local markets and farms close for the winter.

Why Grow Food From Seed?

1. To save money. It costs just a couple of dollars per packet for many seeds. When you plant starts from a nursery, you pay a lot more per plant. (Hint: if you don’t want a whole pack of seeds, share seeds with other gardeners to save even more money.)

2. For greater variety. The varieties of seeds available are nearly endless – the different flavors, colors, and growth paterns of tomatoes alone is astonishing.

3. To support sustainable farmers who bring you the seeds. You have the option of buying open pollinated, organic, biodynamic, sustainably grown seeds – supporting the environment and farmers alike.

4. To further reduce your carbon footprint. A small seed packet sent in the mail takes much less energy than a much heavier seedling (and its soil) that has most likely been transported long distances from its original home.

5. To become more self-reliant and adaptable to economic changes and energy supply issues.

Why Save Your Own Seed?

1. To save more money. You can grow crops for years without spending a cent on seeds!

2. For fun. There is certainly pleasure in nurturing a plant from seed, learning how it propagates, and actually harvesting the seeds. It’s quite empowering, actually!

3. To preserve biodiversity. By saving heirloom seeds that have been passed on through generations, you can help preserve important crop diversity.

4. To create new varieties with particularly desirable qualities. You can create crops uniquely adapted to your backyard microclimate. Also, you can select seed from the plants with better flavor, greater frost hardiness, earliest blooms, prettiest color, and more.

5. When you are entirely the master of your seed, you know where it has been, from what plant it originated, what has been sprayed on it, what soil it grew in, and important details about how it will grow in your garden.

The Rules Are Simple

1. Plant at least one new crop from seed, grow it organically, and save the seed to plant next year.

2. Check in here when I post Seed To Seed or Growing Challenge posts (more or less once/week). Or if you have your own blog*, you can write about your gardening there instead – or in addition. The point of #2 is to learn from one another, inspire one another, and build our growing community. So please share questions, thoughts, and discoveries as they come up.


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