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Back to November 2017 Newsletter

Thank You to our Member Seed Savers!

Here are just a few of the packages we receive every fall for our Seed Library, thanks to the generosity of our member seed savers. Seeds of Diversity's Seed Library is a back-up of rare seeds that our members grow, and that we find in seed  catalogues, to make sure that those varieties are preserved in the future. It's only possible because of the efforts of volunteers, and by donations from our members and supporters.

Who Grows the Seeds?

Every winter we invite volunteers to help us re-grow the seeds that are either in short supply, or that have aged to the point where they need to be rejuvenated. Some of our members have a lot of experience saving seeds, so we send them the varieties that are hardest to replace. Other seed savers are just learning, so we offer them varieties that need to be grown but that we have enough quantity to try again if things don't work out in the garden. We don't want any volunteers to feel pressured that they have the very last seeds of an endangered variety!

Everyone is welcome to help us, so if you would like to be a Seed Library grower, let us know!

What Happens to the Seeds?

Every sample of seeds is weighed and tested. We put a small number of seeds in wet paper towel, and count how many sprout. This initial "germination test" is our baseline for how long to keep the seeds in storage. Over time, the germination rate will fall, so as the seeds age we repeat the test. When the rate declines to about 80% of the initial test, it's time to grow them again.

After weighing, the seeds are divided into two or three portions and stored in airtight jars. One portion goes into our cool room, next to our office, where the temperature is usually about 15 degrees. At this temperature, most seeds will only last for a few years, but we intend for this portion to be used up quickly. The second portion is dried with silica gel and stored in a freezer. These seeds should last for many years, and they will only be used if the first portion is lost or cannot be regrown soon enough.

Sometimes, if the variety is very rare, we send a third portion to the PGRC seed bank in Saskatoon, where the seeds are kept in a federal government seed bank and exchanged around the world.

How Can You Get These Seeds?

In earlier years we hardly had enough extra seeds to distribute, but that has changed. Thanks to our volunteer growers we now have enough surplus seeds to offer quantities to members, seed libraries, and for educational projects. We offer our seeds through Seeds of Diversity's Member Seed Directory, which all members receive.

Find out more about our Member Seed Directory and the seeds you can request from our members, and our Seed Library!

Thank you

To everyone who helped grow seeds this year, we thank you! Seeds of Diversity doesn't have a farm or a place to grow out seeds, so we depend on our seed savers to keep programs like this going. Also, thank you to all our donors who make the Seed Library possible financially. We hope you all feel that this seed collection is your project, and that it grows to serve you!

 

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