Seeds Worth Saving

By Elle O’Casey

Sylvia Davatz is something of a local legend in the Upper Valley. Some, like the Portland Press Herald, have referred to Sylvia as “the keeper of the ark.” UTNE magazine called her a “radical American gardener.”

Sylvia Davatz is a renowned gardener and seed saver located in Hartland Vermont. Next Monday May 15, Sylvia will be hosting on a seed saving workshop at the Norman Williams Public Library from 5:30-7:30 pm. She will share how one can start saving seeds and why it’s an important practice to engage in. Sylvia will explain terms like open-pollinated and hybrid, as well as discuss isolation methods, spacing, plant populations, harvesting, cleaning and storing seeds. She’ll touch on the importance of preserving the irreplaceable heritage of biodiversity contained in seeds. Sylvia experiments with different grains and vegetables with an eye to the tastiest, hardiest, season-extending varieties that can be grown in Upper Valley home gardens. Over 200 unique vegetable varieties are preserved in her organic Hartland garden.

Sylvia has been working for years to save varieties of plants that are in danger of being lost. Sylvia has an organic garden in Hartland. She saves a wide variety of seeds from grains to vegetables, all varieties that are hardy enough to survive our seasons and tasty enough to take center stage at any table.

Locally grown tomatoes

Locally grown tomatoes

She has created an excellent seed catalogue, Solstice Seeds. These seeds are specially selected to advance year-long food supplies, excel in the Vermont environment, grow into mouthwateringly delicious veggies and fruits, and be more disease resistant than other varieties. Her 2017 Solstice Seed catalogue, featuring exclusively Vermont-grown seed, will be her last. While she will continue saving seeds, she will no longer be offering a catalogue, opting instead to continue to offer seeds through the local Seed Savers Exchange. She will also continue to give workshops and go to seed swaps.
Sylvia is part of a global community saving seeds to preserve heirloom varieties that have been passed down across generations. By planting heirlooms, gardeners are silently protesting the industrial agricultural system and also ensuring these time-tested, community-grown seeds will thrive well into the future.

Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from Sylvia firsthand at her Seed Saving Workshop Monday, May 15th at the Norman Williams Library from 5:30-7:30pm.

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