Each year, we grow some crops in order to harvest their seeds.
By no means are we growing all of the seed we plant on our farm. But a handful of varieties of our vegetable crops, flower crops, and herb crops are planted out for seed harvest each year.
We plan which crops we’ll be growing for seed early in the season. Because to grow high-quality seeds we need to plant an appropriate population size and think about isolation so they don’t cross-pollinate with other crops of the same species.
Why do we save seeds?
Humans and plants have evolved together, and a big part of that co-evolution was seed selection for qualities that humans liked (from the human perspective) and getting humans to rely on the plants so we would continue to care for and plant seeds (from the plant perspective).
Seed-saving is a valuable skill that we want to continue to learn and pass forward.
Many of the farmers we apprenticed with before we started Broadfork Farm saved at least some of their seed. We are grateful to have learned from them and to continue to learn from so many talented seed farmers and farmer breeders.
Plants adapt through generations.
By growing those generations out on on our farm – with its unique soils, unique climate, and especially its unique farmers (our management style) and unique customers (with your preferences) – we are able to plant seed that grows extra well here.
Most seeds we have access to aren’t grown anywhere close to here. We think it’s important for local food security (and food sovereignty) to build local seed security (and seed sovereignty).
Where can you find our seeds?
In the spring, we sell seeds at our Dieppe Market Stand, along with seedlings, for our gardening customers to buy.
You can also find some of our seeds through Annapolis Seeds.
How do we save seed?
Seed-saving starts with planning. Selecting what crops we want to save seed of each year and where they will go on the farm.
We care for the seed crops throughout the season, much like our regular crops. However, we do need to ensure that they don’t have any diseases on them that could be seed-borne (disease that can be transmitted through the seed).
When the seed is mature, we harvest it and bring it into our drying room.
When we have a bit more time in the winter, we can then process the seed, which means we remove the seeds from the rest of the plant material (like the seed pods).
Sometimes we use screens for this.
And we also use our Seed Cleaning Air Column.
Finally we store the seed containers in a nice cool, dry room, until we package them up for customers or plant them our in the fields.