It’s happening again–that MIRACLE OF THE SEED–life, held in abeyance in its little dry dormant package, is now springing into action–miraculous germination! Potential energy becomes kinetic! For me Tia Marta, each time it is a spiritual experience to see it happening. Sure, science can explain the DNA within the seed that dictates when the right setting of moist soil, sunlight, and temperature initiate imbibing water and trigger cell division. But still, when that little hard pellet-of-a-seed transforms before your eyes into visibly living tissue, growing and hinting that it might feed you if you patiently tend it–that is the stuff of MAGIC! May we always be reminded…and appreciate…and offer our homage to the seeds!
Our hats are off to the many unsung seed-saver heros who select and share their seeds with friends and neighbors, and to the many seed-saving organizations who give us access to treasured heirloom seeds. In addition to NSS in the southwest Borderlands, we honor Seeds of Change and Seed-Savers Exchange, Tohono O’odham Community College Agriculture program, San Xavier Farm Coop, Mission Garden, Rancho Gordo heirloom bean company, Pima Country Seed Library and many schools which now have garden and seed programs.
Let’s thank the “back-story” gardening people through the ages–familiies, lineages, communities, cultures—who, by saving select seeds, have kept the best traits for local plant productivity alive. It is really plants and people together in an ever-changing, joyous, well-fed, active dance, season after season. They have brought to us in 2023 such a rich diveristy of delectable plant foods and nutrition (like the 20-something glorious varieties of beans shown here–and this is only a fraction).
As we plant our winter/spring seeds in the next couple of weeks–and as we eat the fruits of their labors–may we sing our praises to those untold millions throughout human time for their creative co-creations with the plant world.
For some good reading–perhaps on a rainy day– check out:
Henry David Thoreau’s Faith in a Seed, reprinted by Island Press, 1993, edited by Bradley P. Dean, foreword by G.P.Nabhan.
Virginia D. Nazarea’s Heirloom Seeds and their Keepers, University of Arizona Press, 2005.
Scott Chaskey’s Seedtime, On the History, Husbandry, Politics and Promise of Seeds, Rodale Press, 2014.
Gary Paul Nabhan’s and Bill Steen’s Sown by Hand, Aflorisms, Poems and Prayers for Seeds, The Canelo Project, 2018.
Joy Hought’s and Melissa Kruse-Peeples’ Saving Seeds in the Southwest, Techniques for Seed Stewardship in Aridlands, NativeSeeds/SEARCH, 2018.
This latter handbook is a clear instruction guide for successfully and effectively saving categories of heirloom seeds to maximize their genetic diversity.
So Tia Marta here wishing you happy planting–and soon, happy seed-saving and seed-sharing for a sustainable future!