Seeds of Diversity's Canadian Seed Library is a collection of seeds that backs up the work of our member seed savers and Canadian heritage seed companies. As a not-for-profit project, we store back-up samples of Canadian seed, prioritizing rare and locally adapted varieties to be available for future gardeners and farmers.
Community Grow-Outs Program 2022
This season, we are offering 3 grow-out projects in partnership with the EFAO and Bauta Family Initiative for Canadian Seed Security.
Signups are now CLOSED. Stay tuned for news about 2023 Grow-Outs by signing up for our e-bulletin.
Save One Rare Variety Challenge (beginner-friendly)
This one is available to Seeds of Diversity members only: Sometimes scrolling through our Member Seed Directory can be overwhelming. There are so many seeds - which should you try? If you got into seed saving because you wanted to make a difference, here's how.
Choose one interesting variety from the Seed Directory that is offered by only one person. Grow it, save the seeds, and offer them the the Directory next year. It sounds simple, but it makes a huge difference for that variety because it doubles the number of people growing it and offering seeds. If every member did this one simple challenge, every single vulnerable variety in the Directory would be instantly a lot more safe.
Requirements: Be(come) a Seeds of Diversity Member (it’s free!). Enough space for a minimum population and isolation distance of your chosen variety.
Registration deadline: Mar 15
Save An Old Seed (intermediate/advanced)
While the seeds adopted into our Seed Library are tested and maintained on a regular basis, we also have many varieties that have not been adopted yet. We need help multiplying and rejuvenating them so that they can be properly adopted into the collection in the future.
We're looking for seed savers with experience saving seeds from tomatoes and beans and - most importantly - who understand that the seeds might germinate poorly or not at all.
~ There is only one chance to regrow each of these seed samples. We encourage you to help, but only if you feel fully confident in your ability to save bean and/or tomato seeds.
~ You'll have to pre-sprout the bean / tomato seeds indoors, then transplant all the seedlings to your garden after danger of frost
~ If even one seed sprouts, you have to be prepared to grow it out and save seeds. But if none grow, you should be fore-warned for this disappointment. (If it happens, it's definitely not your fault).
While we will run germination tests on as many varieties as possible before sending them out, there is still a very real possibility that your seeds won’t germinate. To join this project, you need to be OK with that potential disappointment! Keep in mind that even a failed grow-out attempt is a chance at life, and better than having these seeds die abandoned in a jar.
Requirements: Space for 20' of beans &/or 12 tomato plants. Isolation distance of 20' from any other beans or tomatoes. Well-lit, warm space to grow seedlings to transplant to your garden (yes for the beans too!)
Registration deadline: Mar 1
Ground Cherry Breeding Project (intermediate):
Participatory Plant Breeding is not as complicated as it sounds, but it is more involved than just saving seed. For the past 2 years, gardeners across the country have been working together to develop an upright-growing variety of ground cherry (Physalis pruinosa), planting the prior year’s seed and making selections . You can help continue the process:
1. We'll send you a packet of last year’s seeds, collected from all those gardens last year.
2. Grow as many plants as you can (20 to 30 would be a good range to aim for).
3. Uproot the short-bearing plants that grow flat on the ground prior to flowering, to prevent them from crossing with the tall-bearing plants.
4. Taste the berries and keep seeds only from the ones that have excellent flavour.
It may take a few more years to get the results we hope for, but every time we repeat this process we should get closer to the goal of a ground cherry that tastes great, and bears on upright (easy to harvest) plants.
Requirements: 30-40sq ft of garden space & the ability to start seedlings indoors at 20-25C 8 weeks before transplanting
Registration deadline: Feb 20
In addition to our Community Grow-Outs, we are always looking for experienced seed savers who can help multiply the especially rare seeds in our Canadian Seed Library collection.
If you're an experienced seed saver interested in helping with growing other crops, contact our Seed Library Co-Ordinator firstname.lastname@example.org