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Posted January 15, 2000
Sixty million American gardeners buy their seeds from mail order seed companies. In the period 1984-1987, 54 of the 230 seed companies in the U.S. and Canada went out of business, resulting in 943 non-hybrid varieties becoming unavailable. One answer to the extinction of food crop varieties is Seed Savers Exchange, the publisher of Seed to Seed. Begun in 1975, SSE maintains more than 18,000 rare vegetable varieties at Heritage Farm in Decorah, Iowa. (Call 319-382-5990 for catalog and membership information.) Another answer is for individual gardeners to save their own seed from non-hybrid varieties. Varieties that grow and taste exceptionally well in specific areas can be planted year after year from home-grown seed. A further advantage is protection from seed price increases. Ashworth provides definitive information on seed gathering, processing and storage techniques. Twenty family entries include taxonomy, pollination characteristics and techniques, general production and processing techniques. Each of the 160 species entries includes botanical classification; pollination, crossing, and isolation; seed production, harvest and processing; seed viability. Ample black-and-white photographs complement the text. Hybrid seeds are in the control of large companies. You can be in control of heirloom varieties that do best in your garden. Happy eating.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.