How to maintain genetic diversity in our gardening crops.

This was the subject of the talk given by Sylvain Alie at our September 2014 Seed Savers meeting.

Why is genetic diversity important? – Its mother nature’s way of helping us find the best varieties to deal with climate change, plant pathogens and nutrition.

The minimum to maintain genetic diversity would be 1000 Seeds from 20 plants and 5 different growers

What can we do as a community group to

•maintain the biodiversity of genetic stocks,

•preserve high quality and highly productive seeds, and

•provide nutritious and tasty food for the valley now and into the future?

Plan for obtaining and maintaining 1000 genetic rich seeds per variety each year for the Seed bank freezer.

•For each variety have a minimum of five growers within the Comox Valley.

•Each grower will grow a certain number of plants depending on the variety

•Each grower will select seeds from the best performing plants (at 20-50% of the plants)

. •Each grower will select a certain quantity of quality seed to be preserved or frozen from all the seed collected from

the best performing plants.

Tentative List of Varieties for the First Five Years:

2015  Black cherry tomato, Vulcan lettuce, Red Russian Kale, 4 season’s pole bean, Turk’s Turban squash.

2016  Beafsteak tomato, Vrain lettuce, Bush bean, Darlane Soup pea, Nutribud broccoli.

2017 Paste tomato, fresh green bean, romaine lettuce, winter leek, grain.

2018 Medium slicer tomato, red oak-leaf lettuce, purple pole bean, Butternut squash, edible Purslane.

2019 Red cherry tomato, winter density lettuce, dry bean, grain, Chinese vegetable.

What can all seed savers do to protect genetic diversity?

•Grow fewer varieties

•Grow more plants of the same variety

•Select and dry seed from the best plants

•Select the best seeds

WE NEED GROWERS. If anyone is ready to adopt a plant and save the best seeds for the seed bank please leave your name and contact details. We will help you in any way possible, provide the seeds etc.

Thanks from the Penguins and the Seed Bank team.

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