Did you know Irish Seed Savers is a working farm? They grow, nurture and save the heritage seeds of Ireland. Their work is vital for agro-biodiversity. Particularly under a changing climate. For millennia farmers have bred thousands of varieties of thousands of species of seed for food! Today, our seeds genetic diversity is threatened by the increasing homogenization in agricultural and food systems. Carrots weren’t always orange, most corn was multi-coloured and Ireland has rich history in apple varieties, a lot more then the two or three that have come to dominate the shelves today. From vegetables to grass, if “we want to save it – we must use more of it“. That’s what Irish Seed Savers do…..
Over reliance on mono-crops will further exacerbate the vulnerabilities of farmers under threat from climate change. As identified by Biodiversity International, the key to strengthening the use of genetic resources and making it more sustainable is local seed saving systems. Irish Seed Savers not only identify underutilized genetic resources. They tests them by growing them.
The also have farmers who grow seeds for them. Farmers like Eamonn McDonagh (watch more here). This allows for growing tests to be carried out in different soils, growing conditions, even climates! These results can be used to identify landraces that are better equip to grow under future climates. Such initiatives can provide ‘climate-ready’ seed varieties that are not commercially available.
As important it is to know your farmer and how they farm. It’s just as important to know your seeds and ask where they come from.
Nature is never static and neither are our farms!
Spring news from Irish Seed Savers;
In the orchards we have gathered all our apple tree pruning’s ready for chipping which will eventually be mixed in with our composts. Down through the year’s apple trees have be given to Irish Seed Savers and we are busy sourcing the different stories around these varieties. We have cleared out our apple store and the blackbirds were grateful for the scraps during the recent cold snap. We are applying granulated lime to our grounds, this will make sure the PH balance of the soil is kept at optimal levels.
Our bare root selling season has finished and was a great success. A small number of bare roots will now be potted on and once they are healed in properly these will be for sale in our onsite shop. Throughout the orchards and nursery our big spring clean is underway. Grass is having its first cut of the season, irrigation systems are being set up and we will be closely monitoring our fresh apple tree grafts. Pinching out rootstock shoots, applying clips to ensure straight growth and constantly looking for signs of any diseases.
April is the month our gardening team longs for, milder, drier weather allows them to be out in the gardens for longer to tackle the workload full on.
It will be all hands on deck for sowing courgettes and the rest of the cucurbit family as well as grains, beans, beats, chard and swede. We’ll be potting on peppers and tomato varieties and planting out our onions which were earlier sown in trays. We would always recommend growing onions from seeds as disease can be brought into your garden from sets. During the winter months we’ve been busy renovating our Glasshouse and a polytunnel into a propagation tunnel. Raised beds and benches have now been installed and soon it will be in full use.
From all at Seed Savers
You can find out more about Irish Seed Savers work here;
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