When our beautiful old silk tree was euthanased our beautiful old I gathered up several seed pods in the hope of growing new silk trees. I've never been a seed saver. Any I planted
remained stubbornly underground and I realised the growing from seed does not provide instant - or in my case any - gratification. But having been harangued by eco-warriors on
sustainability I decided to experiment. I planted two rows of bean seedlings and two rows of bean seeds and sat back smugly to watch the race.

The seeds won. They bolted out of the soil a few days later and had overcome the seedlings within a week. Now, needless to say, I'm a seed saver.

Administrators of the Roman Empire exchanged information on agriculture, animal husbandry and botany and had an active seed and plant exchange system but seed saving in the modern world is considerably easier.

I'm a convert to saving and then swapping seeds with friends. The great advantage is the seeds can sit in the shed until I get around to dealing with them, whereas seedlings don't have the same level of tolerance to my lackadaisical attitude. I've had a great time collecting seeds and now have several envelopes and jars labelled in the shed. One or two have code names so my eco-warrior mate won't know I plan to extend the population of certain plants he doesn't approve of. Saving vegetable seeds is the real deal and it's fabulous to eat food you have a history with - from garden to seed to storage shed to garden, season after season.