Meg Buerkel Hunn, Advisory Council Chair
Happy New Year! I am not sure whether it’s getting older or the pandemic, but these past few years have really become jumbled for me; both extraordinarily extended and surprisingly short. But there is one constant: right before the new year begins, the catalogs arrive. Seed catalogs. They’re like porn for gardeners and anyone tired of the winter dreariness! Those bright beautiful colors and textures and ideals are right there for us all to see and to imagine growing in our own gardens.
My family and I are new residents in this Land of Enchantment. When we moved here in 2018, one of the first gifts we received was a beautiful piece of pottery from Acoma. I still remember unwrapping it, admiring its intricate black and white patterns and the animals around its base… and wondering why in the world would you make a pot with such a tiny hole on top? We were told that this was a seed pot. People had to save their seeds for next year’s planting. There were no seed catalogs then. Seed saving was imperative for their survival. The best seeds would be funneled into the tiny hole in the pot, then the hole sealed, to protect those seeds from other critters who need to eat during the long winter too. When it came time to plant, these beautiful pots were broken, and the seeds released.
I think I remember what these seeds are.
Definitely not the best way to save seeds!
How times have changed! We can be awash in seeds – seeds that are native to New Mexico and seeds that aren’t. We can order seeds for plants that don’t stand a chance in our high desert climate, but we’ll try them anyway. The catalogs and store seed displays allow us to order our heart’s desires.
I have seeds saved from this past year on my kitchen windowsill now. We will plant those since they originated here. Having grown either in our yard or close by, they are climatized for our location. Seeds are miraculous in that regard! My husband dreams with the catalogs, and has probably already dog-eared a multitude of pages. I will visit the seed library at the Corrales Library – a great – and free resource.
We have a new project beginning this year, the Sandoval Seed Share and Swap, which will help us all learn to save (and share!) seeds, an important step in food sovereignty and in preserving food culture. Part of this project includes a seed cabinet that is already well stocked with many varieties of seeds in the lobby of the Sandoval County Office Building at 1500 Idalia Road – more free seeds! Both locations also have gardening information available.
It is time to dream of the gardens to be – all beginning with those small packages of DNA and life that we know as seeds. Whether you save your own seeds, buy from catalogs and stores, or visit our county’s seed libraries, I wish you happy dreaming and planning this month!