Seeking Seedy People

“Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don’t have any problems, you don’t get any seeds.”~ Norman Vincent Peale

Last month, the State Quarantine Department decided that they were going to slap a $56 inspection fee onto domestic seed packages coming into Western Australia.

This teak platter I found at a garage sale for 50c makes a handy seed sorter.

This teak platter I found at a garage sale for 50c makes a handy seed sorter.

Suddenly, the price of a packet of seeds went from $3.50 to $59.50.  Thankfully, a few interstate seed suppliers have reached an agreement with the Quarantine Department and are absorbing the fee.

But largely, my seed collecting endeavours have been brutally pruned.  Sure, there are many who are very annoyed and are lobbying to have the fee removed.  I hope it goes.  Shoo fee!

Ironically, my local hardware store cheerfully sells seeds that are packaged interstate and even from the UK.  Often, the germination rates are patchy, I have even had entire packets fail to germinate. I even fossick through the supermarket and organic shops for bulk packages of herbs, spices, pulses and grains.

We spanked 300+ seeds from this one Loofah gourd alone. Plenty to share!

We spanked 300+ seeds from this one Loofah gourd alone. Plenty to share!

This is part of the reason why I started down the seedy path I did, scouring the country for niche seed producers who supply heirloom, organic seeds.   The germination result is so much better and I prefer to support independant Australian business rather than huge seed conglomerates with questionable parentage (I’m talking about you, Monsanto!)

Fortunately, there are a few independant seed suppliers based in Western Australia.   Yilgarn and Australian Seed and Meribee  are the ones I have found to be best.

I also have a group of like minded mates that swap seeds and plants.  That is the beauty of open-pollinated heirloom seeds.  They are a wonderful investment.  For example, a $3.50 packet of a dozen loofah seeds yielded a fantastic crop of loofah sponges. But, my harvest didn’t stop there.  I saved over 300 seeds from one loofah.  That’s a thirtyfold return on my original investment.  Not bad.

See?  Saving seeds ensures you have a harvest for yourself and all your mates for many years to come.

Unfortunately, my efforts to uncover a thriving local seed bank have fallen far short of what I had hoped.  I have lots to share, but the groups I have contacted either fail to call back or operate so informally that there is no catalog, much less online access.  Unless there is a raging seed saving community on Facebook I don’t know about.  I don’t do Facebook, Candy Crush or drugs.  For the benefit of my mental health.

Anyway, it’s clear there is some work to be done.

My personal seed collection is stored in an old, 72 drawer library card drawer.  Complete with old book smell.

My personal seed collection is stored in an old, 72 drawer library card drawer. Complete with old book smell.

I’m thinking it is probably time my seed saving interest, turned into a seed saving commitment.  Last year, you might remember  I found a vintage library card drawer to store all my seeds.  I wanted to create a living legacy.   This Friday, I am gathering some seedy mates and we are going to do a bit of brainstorming  see what we can commit to establishing a seed bank ourselves. Hopefully from there, we can begin to reach out and find like minded seedy people.  After all….

“Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don’t have any problems, you don’t get any seeds.”~ Norman Vincent Peale

Hopefully, such will be the literal truth.

As usual, I love to hear from you, please leave me your insight in the comment section below. Thanks!

, , ,

11 Responses to Seeking Seedy People

  1. City Garden Country Garden August 7, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    There’s a great community hub in Melbourne (although sadly closing or possibly even closed by now) called The Commons which has a brightly signed filing cabinet just at the entrance to its cafe with “Seed Bank” written on it. I love the way it’s one of the first things that you see when you enter the Commons and it’s a great example of the ethos of the whole place. Perhaps there’s somewhere like that in Perth that you could set up something similar? Wish I could send you over some seeds from here!

    • melissabarnett August 7, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

      Ohhhh, that does sound great! I would love some seeds, but alas, “mum” says no :) I have even had problems sending seeds to Vic and Qld.

      I just Googled The Commons and am drooling, it looks like a beautiful space. The Hall in particular looks spectacular. We do have a few old, derelict hospitals in Perth that would make darling community garden sites. One has abandoned since 1987 and in derelict condition that would be perfect. But, it sits in a swanky part of town, across a huge space of land and I suspect the developers would have grander ideas! Perth’s land is so expensive. But it’s inspiring to see how cities like Detroit are utilising their neglected public spaces.

  2. Barb August 9, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    That looks like a massive Luffa/Loofah.
    The seed thing sucks, we had an order with Diggers just before it came in but I think they cover it anyway. The smaller sellers though…they might lose quite a bit of business.
    Love your seed cupboards, do you not have mice problems?

    Barb.

    • melissabarnett August 10, 2013 at 9:56 am #

      It was a massive loofah! More about those in a later post :)

      I had a lovely collection of seed providers who are no longer available to me because of the cost. Thankfully Diggers are covering it, but what gets me is the counter-intuitiveness of it all. For example, I can buy organic sugarcane mulch from Queensland, (full of weed seeds!) but I can’t buy sugarcane. I can’t buy chickpea seeds, but I can buy them by the bagful at the organic market.

      No problems with the seed drawers and mice, perhaps because the packets are sealed and Puss patrols the perimeter. I was worried about the same thing with the chickens and their feed attracting rodents, but so far, so good.

      Hasn’t all this rain been lovely?

  3. Karen August 16, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    Hi. If you still looking for homes for your loofah seeds I can supply awesome soil and a great bare fence :). Cheers k

    • melissabarnett August 23, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

      Sure!Have you got anything nifty to swap?

      I also harvested some cotton seeds this week…. home grown cotton balls are so much softer than I expected.

      • Ally May 9, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

        Hi Melissa
        Where did you get cotton seeds from???!!!! That sounds interesting!!
        Ally

        • melissabarnett May 9, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

          Hi Ally,

          The cotton seeds came from Beautanicals in QLD. Unfortunately, they don’t send seeds to the west anymore. Sob!

          I actually have cotton growing at the moment and the bolts are green and almost ready to “bloom”.

          I don’t think we are going to see the repealing of the seed fee anytime soon. But it still irritates me something fierce.

          Because paying that fee doesn’t get me my plants or seeds any sooner. A pot of hops from Diggers arrived dead thanks to the quarantine delay. Cheers guys!

  4. Tuula January 6, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    Hi,
    Please , were can I by Loofah seeds. I live in Townsville Qld.

  5. Kat July 2, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

    Hi Melissa,

    Thanks to your advice I just ordered a dozen packets of seeds for my new Aquaponics set up from Australian Seed, who it turns out are only 2 suburbs across from my place!

    I got some loofah/luffa seeds too for the dirt garden, and can’t wait to try them!

Leave a Reply