Seed Saving: Family Heirlooms for Your Garden

I’m a daughter of a seed saver. Each year, my mom carefully harvests and saves seeds from her prolific garden. A practical woman, she also taught me how to save seeds, so the beans, tomatoes, and dill that I plant today are the same seeds of the same garden goodies that I ate as a kid. The tradition is nostalgic and interesting to me. Each time I pinch a “rattlesnake pole bean” or a “scarlet runner bean” seed between my fingers, I think of my mom, her hard work, and her beloved garden. These seeds are my family’s heirlooms.

Seed savers are especially interested in the concept of heirloom varieties. The Seed Savers Exchange defines an heirloom as “any garden plant that has a history of being passed down within a family, just like pieces of heirloom jewelry or furniture. Some companies have tried to create definitions based on date, such as anything older than 50 years.”

Now you can become part of the ever-growing seed saver/heirloom seed movement. The Annual Seed Saver’s Exchange will be taking place at the Kelley Farm in Elk River, Minn. this March 10 at 2 p.m. The historic farm has been leading seed saving activities in Minnesota since 1981. Seed-saving enthusiasts will gather and celebrate the seed saving tradition with seed art and a gardening presentation. Following the presentation, a seed swap will take place. Seed savers carefully package their seeds and bring them to swap with other seed savers, and the folks at the Kelley Farm make some of their saved seeds available. And you know what’s really cool? You don’t have to bring seeds in order to take some home. The event is free and open to the public and is for novice and expert gardeners alike.

Can’t make the event? No problem. You can still get your green thumbs on some saved seeds by visiting a local store with a Seed Savers Exchange rack. Here’s a list of locations selling Seed Savers seeds:

Abrahamson Nurseries
20021 St. Croix Trail N
Scandia, MN 55073

Greenwood Plants
6904 NW 18th Ave.
Rochester, MN 55901

Abrahamson Nurseries
2100 Tower Dr. W
Stillwater, MN 55082

Hillside Greenhouse
1934 4th Ave.
Windom, MN 56101

Albert Lea Seed House
1414 West Main St.
Albert Lea, MN 56007

Just Food Coop
516 S Water St.
Northfield, MN 55057

Amelia’s Flower & Garden Shoppe
910 W 36th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55408

Kingsley Mercantile
2 Main Ave. N
Harmony, MN 55939

Andrew Skoog
3500 Vicksburg Ln. #334
Minneapolis, MN 55447

Linden Hills Co-op
3815 Sunnyside Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55410

Becker Pet & Garden
1008 Washington Ave.
Detroit Lakes, MN 56501

Linders Garden Center
270 W Larpenteur Ave.
Saint Paul, MN 55113

Becker Pet & Garden
1008 Washington Ave.
Detroit Lakes, MN 56501

2571 Credit Union Dr.
Prior Lake, MN 55372

Bluff County Co-op
121 W 2nd St.
Winona, MN 55987

Mississippi Market
1500 W 7th St.
Saint Paul, MN 55102

By The Woods/Diggin’ In
78 W 78th St.
Chanhassen, MN 55317

Mississippi Market
1810 Randolph Ave.
Saint Paul, MN 55105

City Center Market
122 Buchanan St. N
Cambridge, MN 55008

Moms Food Co-op
122 N Buchanan St.
Cambridge, MN 55008

Cook Country Coop
20 East First St.
PO Box 1433
Grand Marais, MN 55604

Mother Earth Gardens
3738 42nd Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55406

Delano True Value
1005 Crossings Dr.
Delano, MN 55328

Rainbow Food Coop
103 S Main St.
Blue Earth, MN 56013

Drummers Garden Center
281 Saint Andrews Dr.
Mankato, MN 56001

Sailers Greenhouse
17011 Sunset Ave.
Shakopee, MN 55379

East Side Food Co-op
2551 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418

Seward Coop
2823 E Franklin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55406

Eggplant Urban Farm Supply
1771 Selby Ave.
Saint Paul, MN 55104

Super Fresh Produce
2101 4th St. NW
Austin, MN 55912

Good Earth Food Co-op
2010 Veterans Dr.
Saint Cloud, MN 56303

University of MN Lanscape Arboritum
3685 Arboretum Dr.
Chaska, MN 55318

The Granary Food Coop
47 2nd St. NW
Ortonville, MN 56278

Viola Nursery and Greenhouse
3120 100th Ave. NE
Eyota, MN 55934

Grassroots Cooperative
1917 2nd Ave.
Anoka, MN 55303

Vintage Farmer
41 Oak Ave. S
Annandale, MN 55302


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