15 April, 2023
Be a seed saver
FOR more than a decade, the Mareeba Seed Savers and Gardening Group has procured and dispensed a wide range of different seeds from all over the world and members are swinging open their garden fences and inviting passionate gardeners to get involved.
The group was initially founded by Ulla Melchiorsen and Peder Rasmussen in 2009 and since then, close to 600 people have benefited from the group.
People can join the group either through a $10 single or $15 family membership which then gives them free access to the expansive seedbank. Non-members can access the bank for a gold coin donation.
The seed bank holds roughly 350 differ-ent seeds and some have come from overseas as many migrants to the area would have seeds from their home countries and have contributed to the bank.
Mareeba Seed Savers and Gardening Group member Maria Gillies said the group’s main focus is saving seeds but many members share their gardening experience and expertise with one another.
“We are trying to assist people with education on the importance of saving seeds and primarily we like the seeds to be organically grown and open pollenated, which basically means grown in someone’s garden without any chemicals,” she said.
Some of the more outlandish seeds in the bank are Old Womens Gossip Kale, Purple Climbing Bean, Superior Tree Lettuce, Jicama (edible tuberous root), Tommy Toe Yellow Tomato, Russian Giant Cucumber and Job’s Tears which is used to make beads.
Whenever a seed is given to the group it is logged and recorded before being put in the seed bank so future gardeners know exactly what seed they are getting and how to propagate it.
“There is a seed passport which is with each of them so we know the origin of the seed, that type of plant it is, what kind of conditions it needs and whether or not it can be eaten,” Ms Gillies said.
“We like to get as many edible seeds into the seed bank as possible because the other thing we are trying to do is really educate people about growing their own food.”
If you would like to roll your sleeves up and get involved in seed saving you can follow the Mareeba Seed Savers and Gardening Group on Facebook and people can join at any of the six meetings early in the year.