Doing the Seed Savers Exchange Time Warp

Doing the Seed Savers Exchange Time Warp

I still recall the excitement and anticipation of planning my very first real garden in 1981. My wife Susan and I, recently married, learned that graduate students at Dartmouth (where I was mid-degree) could pay practically nothing for a community plot in West Lebanon, New Hampshire, just a few minutes’ drive from our residence.

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Introducing SSE’s New ‘From the Collection’ Varieties!

Introducing SSE’s New ‘From the Collection’ Varieties!

You may well know that Seed Savers Exchange maintains an exquisite, unique collection of more than 20,000 vegetable, herb, flower, and fruit varieties amassed since its founding more than 40 years ago. But did you know that each year our Preservation team regenerates, evaluates, and collects the histories and traits of dozens of these varieties as we grow them at Heritage Farm, our northeast Iowa headquarters? This work allows us to identify interesting and high-performing varieties to introduce in our catalog so that home gardeners everywhere may enjoy them. We are thrilled to introduce the following 12 varieties, available for the first time this December both online and through our 2019 catalog.  

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The Barn at Heritage Farm: Renovation (Almost) Complete!

The Barn at Heritage Farm: Renovation (Almost) Complete!

The questions flew quickly as an inquisitive group of local fifth-graders filed into the iconic barn at Heritage Farm this past September and stared into tubs of fermenting heirlooms tomatoes, excited to learn all they could about how to process tomato seeds: “What is an heirloom tomato?”... “Why are the tomatoes fermented?”... “How do you remove all the seeds?”

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The Beloved Barn at Heritage Farm: Its First Restoration

The Beloved Barn at Heritage Farm: Its First Restoration

In the late 1980s, just like today, the historic barn at Heritage Farm was in need of help—lots of help. In 1987—not long after Seed Savers Exchange bought arguably one of the most beautiful farms in Iowa—Kent Whealy and Diane Ott Whealy, founders of the organization, learned that the homemade laminated bows that supported the barn’s roof were weakening, and, consequently, posed a real threat of the roof collapsing. Thus began months of restoration, conducted by Amish carpenters from Canton, Minnesota, financed with a $20,000 grant from the Ruth Mott Foundation, based in Flint, Michigan. In 2011, Diane devoted a section of her book Gathering, Memoir of a Seed Saver, to the work the Amish carpenters did to restore the barn. An excerpt of that section follows:


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