I think this would be one of the most exciting way of getting heirloom seed. Shortly after we moved to our farm, we were at a neighbor, buying some used equipment and I commented on the bright patch of petunias. The farmer’s wife told me that they were an old variety that self seeded year after year. She gathered a little seed for me. For over 10 years now, I have volunteer petunias. In the right conditions, the seeds sprout so well that the soil is covered with tiny green seedlings. I rake through it roughly and usually still don’t thin them enough. Some of that dirt has been transported to fill up garden beds and I get volunteers there. I haven’t the heart to pull them ALL out, so usually a few are left here and there to spread their cheery colors. The only thing they can’t take is a heavy leaf mulch.
Start your own heirloom seed swap in your area. YOu might be surprised at how many are interested in gathering and growing heirloom vegetables and flowers.
Folks who turned out for last year’s Old-Timey Seed Swap and festival in Crawford, Ga., really showed their gumption, plodding through muck and mud, and braving thunderstorms and tornado warnings, just to trade and share a few seeds.
Except these weren’t just any seeds. They were heirlooms, old varieties of flowers, fruits and vegetables like our ancestors used to grow. All seeds are capsules of genetic information, programmed to grow into the next season’s sunflowers or squash. But heirlooms, often referred to as open-pollinated, are much more.
Heirlooms are living antiques handed down from one generation of gardeners to the next. They are valuable and interesting enough, it seems, to bring folks out into the elements and brave threats of inclement weather, just for a handful of seeds.
Saving your own seeds is a very satisfying thing and over the years, your seeds will become accustomed to your conditions and grow and produce even better. That is the beauty of saving your own heirloom seeds.