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Growing ahead – why & how of seed saving uncovered

Growing ahead – why & how of seed saving uncovered

Heritage Seed Library’s Seed Officer, Vicki Cooke, delivered a lively, engaging and thought-provoking day-long training course to Lincolnshire Master Gardeners last Saturday.  The National Centre for Craft & Design in Sleaford was the venue, and very appropriate given that it was once a major seed warehouse.

Highlights of the day included dissection of flowers from brassicas, tomatoes and courgettes, identification of pollination methods and repercussions and practical sessions of seed harvesting.

Feedback from delegates:

“Really excellent training session – and good fun.  Vicky’s mix of hands-on and theory was brilliant.”

“It was a really good and well planned day – delivered with enthusiasm.”

“Thanks so much to you and the team for providing such a jam packed day that really inspired me to start thinking about seed saving in a much more detailed way.  I always feel so positive, inspired and upbeat after the Garden Organic training sessions.”

Saving seed is an exciting and money-saving way to complete the growing cycle.  It lets you preserve your favourite fruit or vegetable varieties to grow again next year or swap with friends – a great way to get others growing.  Anybody can save seed and for beginners, the best crops to start with are peas, French beans and tomatoes.

Some of the highlights of learning for those who came along:

“As many seeds have good longevity, if you want to grow for seed, you don’t need to do it every year.  You can concentrate on a particular crop one year and a different one the next.”

“Knowing what not to save seed from – annuals you grew for food, that are highly likely to have been cross-pollinated – avoids disappointment and waste of space and time.”

“Seed to seed brassica growing (it solves the space problem) and growing aubergines as perennials – ours are usually not ready until late summer so an early crop would be great.”

“To attempt to create a new broad bean by crossing two of my favourites – Red Epicure and the dwarf Sutton.  I want to create a dwarf red bean suited to my exposed Lincolnshire garden.”

“To become a seed guardian again and try and germinate some 2 year old Mummy Pea heritage variety that I got from HSL when I was heavily pregnant and thought I’d be able juggle a new born and seed guardianship – pure loony behaviour!  I am now motivated to have another go!”

For more information on seed saving, go to the Heritage Seed Library.

Connect with your local Master Gardener.

Read the lastest case studies of food-growing across Lincolnshire.

Annual or biennial? The first step in seed saving.

Weeding out the rogue carrots!


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