This year all my vegetable seeds come from “Brown Envelope Seeds” Co Cork.
These seeds are open pollinated which means they are naturally pollinated by insects or wind. Open pollinated allow you to save your own seeds from them each year unlike hybrid seeds which does not produce true reproductions of the mother plants
In Europe over the last century we have lost 80% of food plant diversity due to the seed industry consolidating and old varieties been lost. As an example Gortahork Cabbage is a distinct landrace variety which had almost died out. A landrace variety is often highly variable in appearance, it developed largely by natural processes, adapting over time to the natural climatic conditions, cultural practices and disease and pests in an area. But most important, in these times of climate change, landrace varieties and open pollinated seeds are genetically variable so that as conditions change from year to year the population can adapt to the changes.
Nature’s gifts are wonderfully magical and surprising; one of my favourite old fashioned flowers is “Honesty” (Lunaria annua). The Latin name lunaria means “moon-shaped” this refers to the shape of the seedpods. I have been looking for this plant for years to grace my garden but was unable to find it. However this year it turned up in my life three times (there’s something in numbers I believe). I found someone online who would sell me open pollinated ones, so I ordered them and later when going to bed I pulled out a book for a quick read and packet that I had bought a few weeks before which I had forgot fell out. (Still chemo brained – I am told this can go on for years). Then on the day the online ordered ones arrived I spotted one beautiful single Honesty flower growing in a little patch of ground in my garden. This plant appeared all by its self – no it is not chemo brain again, I checked with the family. I believe it is just “Mother Nature’s magic.”
So along with Mother Nature, sow open pollinated seeds and you will contribute to keeping food security in your own hands and Irish biodiversity alive and vibrant.