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Seed Saving for the Future

By Emily Sullivan

1st year students volunteering at AMI Urban Farm

As an AMI Senior Fellow, we come into communities for one year and then often times leave at the end of our placement. As the sun is beginning to set on summer it’s hard not to start considering what my next step is come December 31st and what exactly it is that I will be leaving behind after a year’s worth of work.

I’ll save the lengthy consideration about what my next step is for my mom and instead share a little bit about how to save seeds!

The easiest seed-saving project is beans. To start, plant your beans. Once the plants begin producing beans, you simply leave them on the plant. Don’t harvest them. Leave them be until the pods turn brown. Once the plants have died back and the pods are brown, harvest the pods, and remove seeds from pods. Keep seeds dry, label with the year and variety, and plant in the following year.

The seeds will quite possibly be used by the students pictured above. Each year the Spencer Center hosts a group of first year students with a passion for service-learning and community building. These students begin the year with a volunteer day as they get to know each other, they get to see and help out a variety of community organizations. This year the projects they helped out with were Renewing Homes of Greater Augusta, Project GROWS, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Staunton Augusta Art Center, Valley Mission, ARC of Augusta, and the AMI Urban Farm at VSDB.

I was lucky to spend the day with one group at the AMI Urban Farm, where we weeded six beds to help prepare for the next succession of lettuce mix. The greens grown will go to the VSDB Cafeteria.

Even though I won’t be at Mary Baldwin next year to see how the projects I have worked on go, I’ll know that the energy I’ve put in will live on in the precious seeds I’ve saved and as well as in the students that I’ve gotten to work with. I think that counts as a worthy legacy to leave behind.

Easy, beginner’s seed saving resource: International Seed Saving Institute

Pole Beans saved for next year’s garden

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