Final Seed Mentee Blog – Arzeena Hamir
The year 2016 was our fifth season on our farm and the climate threw many curveballs at us. Expecting a hot, dry summer like 2015, I moved roma tomato and jalapeno pepper production outdoors only to find that the cool temperatures did little to help with either fruit or seed production. The poor purple fava beans from Salt Spring Seed got hammered by wireworm and then covered in aphids mid-summer. I think I maybe got 50 seeds out of the patch. Sigh…
On my farm, where we currently still have five inches of snow left from the first dump of snow in early December, seed production is only really successful in our high tunnels and covered spaces. But those spaces are also prime real estate for crop production so juggling areas has been really tricky.
It got me to question why I’m saving seed. It’s not for financial reasons. Even if I add the savings from not having to purchase the seed variety anymore, I still make more money growing and selling veg in the same area. I do it because I love learning the skill of seed saving. It forces me to look at my plants with a much more critical eye. I do it because I love experimenting and trying varieties I’ve never grown before. Yellow Caprillo pepper was an awesome find. I do it because it’s the right thing to do. We need more locally adapted, ecologically-grown seed.
So, as I plan the my seed saving for 2017, I’m still excited and I still want to build a “sucky” seed cleaner, a là ALM Farm. I’ve committed one tunnel for seed saving this year where I’ll continue to do coriander, lettuce, and peppers and hopefully some new crops for 2017. I’d like to thank Mary Alice for inspiring me with her enthusiasm, which is still so shiny even after decades of seed saving. I hope it never gets dull for me either!