Friday, June 11, 2010

A Gardener's Insurance

I got a phone call earlier this week from a gardener friend who was experiencing a gardening disaster. He is the family custodian of his wife's family's Puerto Rican sweet potatoes, a line that has been grown by her family in this county for more than one hundred years, and for some reason this year his saved seed potatoes had not put out any sprouts, even though he did everything the same way he has for decades. He was totally distressed that this particular line might be lost, and even more that it was "on his watch"!

However, just last year he had shared a dozen or so slips with me. My friend wanted to know whether I had kept any to grow this year. The answer, of course, was yes. I had already planted mine (around the first of the month), but I still had quite a lot of slips in the flat I had started my slips in; they hadn't yet been dumped into the compost. I was able to take the flat over to his place so he and his wife could plant them. To say that he was very happy to see that flat of slips would be a massive understatement.

This is a good lesson for me as I begin to really work at saving seeds. Sharing is like a gardener's insurance. When I save or develop a variety that really works in my yard, sharing it with other gardeners will improve the odds that it won't be lost if my little patch or supply is somehow destroyed. So, this is just to let my local gardening friends know: when I finally get my favorite hybrid melon dehybridized (which could take a few years), you will ALL be getting little packets of seeds!

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