Ira Wallace is a worker/owner of the cooperatively managed Southern Exposure Seed Exchange ( which offers over 700 varieties of open-pollinated heirloom and organic seeds selected for flavor and regional adaptability.

Ira serves on the boards of the Organic Seed Alliance, the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and the Virginia Association for Biological Farming (VABF). In addition, Ira is a member of Acorn Community which farms over 60 acres of certified organic land in Central Virginia, growing seeds, alliums, hay, and conducting variety trials for Southern Exposure.

Ira is an organizer of the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello, [] a fun, family-friendly event featuring an old-time seed swap, local food, hands-on workshops and demos, and more. She presents at events throughout the southeast.  She currently writes about heirloom vegetable varieties for magazines and blogs including Mother Earth News, Fine Gardening, the American Gardener, and Southern Exposure.

Ira conducts variety trials for Southern Exposure Seed Exchange as well as researching and documenting the history of varieties offered in the annual catalog. Her book, The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast, is available online and at booksellers everywhere.

Southern Exposure helps people keep control of their food supply by supporting sustainable home and market gardening, seed saving, and preserving heirloom varieties.

Conference Session: The Seed Garden – Planning for Seed Saving and Lots of Vegetables to Eat

Learn how to plan, plant, grow and harvest from seed to seed in a diverse vegetable garden:

 best practices for starting indoors

 tricks of transplanting and timing, including the use of row covers

 the life cycles of popular vegetables, herbs and flowers

 how to avoid crossing and insure seed purity

 how to “select” the best individuals at every stage (and discard the rest!)including how to mark

chosen plants

 fitting seed saving into succession sowing strategies for long harvests of multiple crops

 seed growing under cover including growing some seed crops in a hoophouse in summer

 seed extraction, cleaning and storage on a small scale

 …and right through to seed saving at season’s end

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