"Seed to Seed" is the
wisest guide to seed saving and grassroots genetic
preservation you will ever find. Suzanne Ashworth has distilled
the best information from researchers and the Seed Savers Exchange
to guide vegetable gardeners from all walks of life.
Seed Savers Exchange defines an heirloom as any garden plant that has a
history of being passed down within a family, just like
pieces of heirloom jewelry or furniture. Some companies have
tried to create definitions based on date, such as anything
older than 50 years.
The genetic diversity
of the world's food crops is eroding at an unprecedented and
accelerating rate. The vegetables and fruits currently being lost
are the result of thousands of years of adaptation and selection
in diverse ecological niches around the world. Each variety
is genetically unique and has developed
resistance to the diseases and pests with which it evolved.
Plant breeders use the old varieties to breed resistance
into modern crops that are constantly being attacked by rapidly evolving
diseases and pests. Without these infusions of genetic
diversity, food production is at risk from epidemics and
Just how dangerous is genetic erosion? The late Jack Harlan,
world renowned plant collector who wrote the classic "Crops and Man"
while Professor of Plant Genetics at University of Illinois at Urbana,
has written: "These resources stand between us and catastrophic
starvation on a scale we cannot imagine. In a very real sense, the
future of the human race rides on these materials. The line between
abundance and disaster is becoming thinner and thinner, and the public
is unaware and unconcerned. Must we wait for disaster to be real before
we are heard? Will people listen only after it is too late."
Both beginning and experienced
gardeners can easily learn how to save their own seeds,
resulting in substantial annual savings and ever
increasing self-sufficiency. For saving individual varieties of seed,
please see our vegetable planting and seed saving instructions >>
"Seed to Seed" is
widely acknowledged as the best guide available for home
gardeners to learn effective ways to produce and store
seeds on a small scale. Author Suzanne Ashworth has grown
seed crops of every vegetable featured in the book, and has thoroughly
researched and tested all of the techniques she recommends
for the home garden. "Seed to Seed" is a comprehensive and
invaluable reference book for all gardeners who are
interested in maintaining unique varieties and helping to
conserve our vegetable heritage.
In 2002 Seed Savers Exchange published the
Second Edition of "Seed to Seed," a complete seed-saving
guide that describes specific techniques for saving the
seeds of 160 different vegetables. The book contains detailed
information about each vegetable, including its botanical
classification, flower structure and means of pollination,
required population size, isolation distance, techniques for
caging or hand-pollination, and also the proper methods for
harvesting, drying, cleaning and storing the seeds.
This updated and greatly expanded Second
Edition includes additional information about how to start
each vegetable from seed, which has turned the book into a
complete growing guide. Local knowledge about seed starting
techniques for each vegetable has been shared by expert gardeners from
seven regions of the U.S. - Northeast, Mid-Atlantic,
Southeast/Gulf Coast, Midwest, Southwest, Central West
Coast, and Northwest.