Community Seeds Series

Community Seeds Series
Event on 2015-04-04 09:00:00

The Duke Farms “Community Seeds” program is designed to mentor a group of gardeners throughout the entire growing season. Workshops will provide foundational knowledge, assistance with planning, and demonstration of seed-saving techniques. We aim to produce and save seeds of several crops, with the resulting seed harvest shared among all program members.  

Series Topics and Dates:

The Art and Practice of Seed Saving: An Introduction to Seed Saving

April 4, 9:00-11:30am.
This indoor class covers the foundational information needed to successfully save healthy, true-to-type seeds from garden vegetables and ornamentals. Learn about the scientific processes involved in the formation of a seed, and the different ways plants produce and disperse their seeds. Topics include: taxonomy, botany, pollination methods and mating systems, seed development and maturation, isolation, and population size. Maturity indicators, harvest methods, and seed cleaning techniques will be introduced.


CLICK HERE to register for this program as an individual class.


Planning and Sowing the Seed Garden

May 16, 9:00-11:30am
The Community Seeds annual planting plan will be discussed and crop specific seed-saving instructions will be given out. Seed stewards will be identified and assigned to each planting. Seed-saving tasks and timelines will be reviewed with each seed steward. Participants will leave will a understanding of how to save true-to-type seeds from beans, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash, and other favorite garden vegetables. During the second half of class, all class participants will help plant seed crops in the Education Garden. Plants and seeds of warm-season crops will be available for participants.


CLICK HERE to register for this program as an individual class.


Staying True: Variety Maintenance and Seed Quality

July 11, 9:00-11:30am
Class discussion will focus on pollen flow and ways to manage pollination in order to produce true-to-type seeds. Techniques for controlling pollination (hand-pollination, caging, and blossom-bagging) will be demonstrated. Class discussion will cover roguing and selection as critical aspects of saving true-to-type seeds. The Community Seeds plantings will be scouted for potential problems and seed quality, seed health, and seedborne diseases will be discussed. In preparation for seed harvest, fruit and seed maturity indicators will be discussed.


CLICK HERE to register for this program as an individual class.

Garden Smarter: Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners

August 15, 9-11:30am 
This class will discuss the importance of variety trials and explain the basics of evaluating vegetable varieties. Participants will learn how to use and upload information to Cornell University’s Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners website. Class participants will begin the process of evaluating varieties that are growing in the garden; Community Seeds participants will select the best tomato and pepper varieties for a 2016 Community Garden Seed Giveaway.


CLICK HERE to register for this program as an individual class.


Thresh and Winnow: Cleaning Garden Seeds

September 12, 9:00-11:30am
This workshop will focus on different methods of harvesting, drying, and cleaning seeds. The class will discuss ripeness indicators and how to best gauge seed maturity. Once-over and staggered harvesting will be compared, and the differences between harvesting dry-fruited and fleshy-fruited crops will be reviewed. Seeds at the proper stage for collection will be gathered from the gardens, and some wet-processing of fleshy-fruited crops will be performed. Threshing methods (hand-shelling, stripping, treading, flailing) will be demonstrated, and equipment will be brought to screen and winnow dry-fruited crops. Methods will emphasize the use of tools and materials found in the common household. The group will clean seeds of various Community Seed harvests, and the class will close with a review and discussion of the successes and failures encountered throughout the season. Participants’ seed-saving logs will be collated to form the basis of Duke Farms Community Seeds catalog. Seed harvests will be shared amongst participants and distribution of excess seeds will be planned.


CLICK HERE to register for this program as an individual class.

at Duke Farms
80 Route 206
Hillsborough, United States

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