Learn about saving seeds tonight

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    The falling colorful leaves, the fresh snow on the mountains and the crisp morning air are telling signs of the changing season. It’s hunting season, but it’s also the gathering season. It’s in our DNA; we need to stock up for the winter. Hunters fill their freezers with wild game and the gatherers — well, they save seed.
    Since the dawn of humans, we have harvested food and saved the seed for survival. It is imperative to our existence, but there are a variety of other reasons to save seeds in your own garden. These reasons include saving money, adaptation, food security, preserving genetic diversity, flavor, and getting more connected with your garden and the environment.
    Saving money is always a good idea. A typical package of 50 pepper seeds costs $3 or more, while transplants can cost $5 each. By growing food from seeds you have saved, you can significantly reduce the cost of producing healthy food.
    Start with a good, known source of seed, even if your initial investment of a few dollars is buying a packet of seed from a reliable source. Then, learn how to save that seed and you will have vigorous and delicious vegetables for years to come. Have you ever found the best-tasting tomato from a seed catalog one year only to discover you can’t buy it anywhere the following year? Seed savers don’t have this problem. They save the flavor.
    Saving vegetable seeds can get exciting when you grow to adapt to your environment. Most commercially available seed has been selected because it performs fairly well across the entire country if given synthetic fertilizers. When you save seed from the best-performing plants grown on your own land and with your unique cultural conditions, you gradually develop varieties that are better adapted to your soil, climate and growing practices.
    Seed security and genetic diversity are important to our heritage seeds and plant varieties. Hundreds of excellent plant varieties have been discontinued as big corporations have consolidated the seed industry and focused on more profitable hybrids. If you save your own seed, however, you control the supply. Conversely, a lot of great varieties will never see the fame of a commercial seed catalog. Many of these unique plants only exist in the hands of one or two gardeners. Lend a hand and save some of those seeds that are in danger of disappearing.
    When you save seed, you are understanding and watching for the best of the best growing in your garden. It connects us to our gardens. Every seed holds a connection to the future and the past. From one generation that was passed down to the next, to the rogue tomato plant that you’ve saved seeds from and will pass on to your children.
    The stories of seeds connect us to our history, our culture, our family and our sense of who we are. Seed saving and seed sharing go hand in hand. Share with a neighbor, help a community garden become more self-sufficient, or take a new gardener under your wing and teach them how to save their own seeds.
    You can learn more about basic seed saving at the Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library tonight at 5:30 p.m. See you there.
    The 4-H open house will be at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 at the Extension office.
    CPR and first aid classes
    CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the Colorado State University Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 pm. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
    We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.