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Seed saving spreads through North London after Garden Organic training

Seed saving spreads through North London after Garden Organic training

Heritage Seed Library’s Seed Officer, Vicki Cooke, delivered an engaging and thought-provoking day-long training course for North London Master Gardeners on Saturday 24 November 2012. Islington Ecology Centre was a lovely venue and organic catering from Eco-cuisine.

Highlights included dissection of flowers from brassicas, identification of pollination methods, and practical seed preparation to learn techniques for helping North London households and shared growing spaces save their own seeds.


Feedback from volunteer Master Gardeners:

“The  training was amazing, well presented and interactive. Also it was great to see familiar faces and hear their stories. Lunch was deliciousssssss… the packets of seeds and the garlic, most appreciated. Thank you.”

“I immediately went home and fished out some squash seeds I’d thrown into my compost bin. It was an especially delicious variety which I’d got it from a catalogue and can’t remember its name, but it doesn’t matter now as I can reproduce it myself.  I am inspired and excited to help with veg biodiversity and personal veg gratification – and maybe a bit of my own genetic tinkering in the future.”

“I enjoyed it very much! I think the helpful tips are putting it into simple words. The understanding of what part of the plant does what!”

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. Read guidelines here.

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

“Finding out a lot more about veg that cross pollinate was fascinating and with limited space, I’ll take greater care over the variety(ies) grown of those plants where I intend to collect seed.”

“The point that sticks out the most for me is the need to consider in breeders and out breeders. I shall certainly try saving more seed this year.”

“I spent my sunny morning reading the handout and my notes about why and how of seed saving. I’m feeling more confident about it now, I already have the tomatillo seeds in water to remove the gel.”

“I will be incorporating what I learnt to my current course at Capel Manor. I really enjoyed the discussion about the family/genus and how different plants inter relate with each other’s life cycle.”

“Went to Queen’s Wood community garden and immediately put all the seeds which had been hanging around to dry into proper storage.”

“Most useful tips were re storage, inbreeding and outbreeding, families (will help with rotation) and aside – the comment on too much nitrogen for courgettes causing shortage  of female flowers.”

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

Connect with your local Master Gardener.

Read the latest case studies of food-growing across North London.


All in – dry seed processing

Annuals, inbreeders, exceptions – Master Gardener work out what’s what

Vicki – enthusiastically describes top tips from Garden Organic’s Heritage Seed Library

Vicki’s feet took part in the training!

How Terry saves seeds!

Group work to plan the best veg to save seed from in sunny London

From MG Carole Wright – sorting out what’s what of seed saving – how many can you guess…?

See more photos on Flickr



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