Spring has (almost) sprung, the birds are singing, and the sun is almost out here in Denmark. But I bet you don´t know what that means for us here at Copenhagen Seeds?
It is time to start planting the seed garden. Within the next few weeks we will begin to till the soil, get our hands dirty, and plant the 3,000 square meter plot for the year. Some people might find it strange that we plant seeds to, well, get more seeds. You might be wondering if we would also like to eat the vegetables, flowers, and fruits we produce. The answer is of course! At the same time it is also important to save seeds and pass them on to more people in not only Denmark, but around the world. Without having seeds we simply wouldn’t have the food on our plates because the animals we use for livestock wouldn’t have any feed and we would not get the nutrition needed from fruits and vegetables.
After the initial labor is done and the seeds are safe in the soil, it is time to watch them grow. This process lasts through the summer, but there is still plenty of work to be done in the mean time. Weeds can easily take over the plot of land and minimise the amount of nutrition the crops are receiving so multiple times per week you can find the Copenhagen Seeds staff and volunteers out plucking the weeds. To keep the plants happy and watered, a system of tubes connected to a water source is laid down. The type of system is called drip irrigation. Not only does it supply the seeds with an ample amount of water directly to the roots, it also conserves water by putting it straight into the source.
Next, we get to the fun part. Once the plants begin to fruit we cannot just sit by and not have a taste of anything we nutured and grew! We start to taste the crops we produce and bring guests to the garden to show them that they can also produce foods that are just as flavourful as ours. By Fall, the plants have evolved long enough and have gone from fruiting to then producing new “baby seeds”. We collect the seeds to allow them to dry and save them for our seed library. Hopefully, one of you reading this blog post will receive a package of seeds from us, and maybe even some from our most recent harvest:)
To end this blog, you may be wondering if we are the only people in the world leading a movement like this. In fact, we are not seed banks and libraries can be found all around the world. A highlighted seed bank is in Gainesville, Florida. A small farm called Forage Farms runs a seed bank and library, where each year people from all over the southern United States come together have some good laughs and learn about some new plants. It all boils down to the importance of spreading crop biodiversity and incorporating new plants into the landscape.
Once seeds and plants that are native to certain areas have spread there are more foods for the animals to eat, higher nutrition in the soil, and in turn a happier planet. This is exactly what Copenhagen Seeds and other seed banks are trying to do: simply distribute local/ heirloom seeds back into the environment, while also bringing people together to get our hands dirty and eat some good food because isn´t that what life is all about?
About: Tomatoes season is now just around the corner! This is one crop we have found is very important to have in our seed library. In Denmark, production is better than in most places because there is no use of ripping agents and tomatoes are picked when they are red using animals to act as pest management. Even still, tomatoes are bred to have a longer shelf life. In other places around the world it is possible that rippening agents are used on tomatoes such as ethylene gas. The processes described have the ability to alter the taste of the tomato fruit! That is why if you taste a heirloom variety from a market there is an undeniably complex, sweet flavour there verses a tomato from the supermarket that is bland and tasteless. So when buying tomatoes this season try and buy organic, grow your own with heirloom seeds, or find a market and taste them with sea salt, pepper, and olive oil. Bon appetit!
Grow and Harvest
Tomatoes are usually planted around mid April to Mid May when they are planted in a greenhouse. Rows need to be 100 cm apart where as the plants should be 40 to 60 cm apart. The optimal temperature for the soil is 18-22 °C. The seeds can be harvested from the tomato from from mid August to November.