The Seed Savers’ Handbook

by Michel and Jude Fanton

Published in 1993

Paperback  |  176 pages  |  ISBN: 0646102265

The Seed Savers’ Handbook is an important resource in my home library with well-researched details that make saving and growing seeds feel very achievable.  It presents stories of hope for a secure and resilient future where we can each play a role in preserving heirloom food plants into the future.

I believe this book to be essential for all caring farmers, gardeners, cooks, and parents, and I trust that it will speed our return to good nutrition and a healthy society.

Bill Mollison, co-originator of Permaculture, 1993

Michel and Jude Fanton are the founders of Australia’s Seed Savers’ Network and share a wealth of practical information in this detailed handbook.  With a focus on protecting our global food heritage, this is a complete reference for growing, preparing, and conserving productive food plants in our Australian homes. 

Suitable for both beginners and experienced seed-savers, this guide includes details about seed collecting, growth cycles, propagation, and cultivation of 117 vegetables, culinary herbs, and edible flowers.  The traditional kitchen and medicinal uses of these plants are also highlighted.

With permaculture, biodiversity, organics, and companion planting as the underlying principles, this handbook is divided into 3 parts.

Part One:  The Issues
  1. The Seed Savers’ Network
  2. Background to Biodiversity
Part Two: The Practicalities
  1. What Seeds to Save
  2. Purity and Production
  3. Selecting and Collecting
  4. After the Seed Harvest
  5. Planting and Planning
  6. A Special Family – Cucurbits
Part Three: The Plants
  • Simplicity Rating
  • 171 Plants Listed Alphabetically – including descriptions and full details for cultivation, propagation, and usage.  Plants included are as diverse as amaranth, celeriac, chilacayote, and rosella, along with common favourites such as beans, carrots, pumpkin, and tomatoes.
  • Pollination Table
  • List of Plants by Family
  • Index to Alternative Names
  • Glossary
  • Reference Materials

You might also like to go to the Seed Savers’ Network website for more information or to purchase the book for your own library.

Many people care passionately about the environment and conserving it for future generations. An integral part of this is concern for the demise of old-fashioned varieties of useful plants and vegetables. But philosophical thought and rhetoric alone cannot turn the tide – the timely publication of this informative and practical book will do much to guide ordinary people to becoming caretakers of our diverse seed heritage.

Megg Miller, editor of Grass Roots, 1993

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