Libraries Aren't Just for Reading Anymore
It is an interesting times for seed cultivation and unfortunately for all of us, a lack of biodiversity may have a negative impact on our food security. Due to changing agricultural practices and the loss of many heirloom varieties, patents, and pollen drift (accidental cross-pollination), the old practice of saving seed for the next year and community sharing of seed is decreasing overall in current cultivation and modern farming practices.
Seed libraries allow individuals to "check out" seeds. They then plant the seeds and "return" seeds back to the library at the end of the growing season. We recently selected many plants to narrow down what performs well in our environment at 10,000 feet. Our hope is to then contribute meaningfully to the local seed library in Park County and to offer a workshop to the community on what grows well at this altitude and tips and tricks we learned along the way.
This year we will be experimenting with growing many new varieties and heirloom strains including carrots, fennel, marjoram, dill, parsley, cilantro, Cress, broccoli, chard, peppers, and many others. Through our ongoing efforts to identify heirlooms that grow well in this environment and to harvest seed for seed swapping and seed library collaborative projects is one-way Beaver Ponds is helping with our local food production and demonstration of sustainable high country gardening.
We are currently preparing for our short outdoor season by starting many seeds in the greenhouse. Dino kale, red Russian kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, radishes, and many other plants are being started indoors to go outside. Likewise, we are starting trial runs on plants such as basil in the greenhouse to determine which varieties perform best for future cultivation efforts. The more climate sensitive plants will stay in the greenhouse, and those that are more cold hardy will be transplanted to the raised beds or a huglekulture mound (to read more about huglekulture mounds click here).
Grassroots movements to preserve heirloom varieties and create hybridized plants are increasingly important, as the dominant paradigm is moving toward mega monopolies of seed. Biodiversity impacts our food security, so please support and utilize your local seed library. Summit County has a seed library and your local community may as well -- a simple search online can get you headed in the right direction!