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. We are looking for volunteer growers for 2 programs: Core Grow-Outs involve refreshing high priority seed from the Seed Library - we need experienced seed savers for this. Community Grow-Outs are different every year and are more beginner-friendly. You can find more info on both below.

‎ 

Community Grow-Outs Program 2024

This season, we are offering 3 grow-out projects in partnership with the EFAO and Bauta Family Initiative for Canadian Seed Security.

  • Save & Share: Canadian Tomatoes
  • Save & Share: Beans for Canadian Climates
  • Collaborative Breeding of an Upright Ground Cherry: Year 4

You can participate in as many Community Seed Grow-Out projects as you'd like.
Sign up now using this form.

 

Save & Share Projects (beginner-friendly)

We want your help saving seeds and increasing how broadly they are shared across the country. While our Canadian Seed Library does a good job of seed conservation, the goal is not just to keep endangered seed alive but to get it into as many gardens as possible. We’ve chosen some Canadian-adapted beans and tomatoes: your job will be to grow them, take observations, save LOTS of seed, and share it - with us and with others.  

We’re concerned about the quickly changing growing conditions that all gardeners are experiencing, and we know you are too. Adapting to a changing climate is a big deal, but you can help in a small way by growing a selected bean or tomato variety and helping us all learn how it grows where you are.

New to saving seeds? That’s OK! You’re welcome to take part. The bean project is particularly beginner-friendly. We will send you seeds and provide instructions throughout the season. Just make sure you have the time and garden space to follow through.

Participant Responsibilities:

  • growing and tending plants
  • providing sufficient isolation to prevent against cross-pollination
  • taking written observations throughout the season
  • saving seeds
  • returning a portion of seeds to us, and sharing the rest in your community

Join our Community Seed Growouts using this form

 

Canadian Tomatoes

We've selected about a dozen Canadian tomatoes - varieties bred in Canada or with a long history of being well-adapted to our growing conditions. Your job will be to grow 6 tomato plants, take observations through the season and save seeds. We hope you’ll send some seed back to the Seed Library to refresh our supply, and share it far & wide.

Requirements:

  • Garden space to grow out 10 dwarf tomato plants at 1.5’ separation
  • 20' isolation distance from any other tomato varieties
  • A warm, bright spot to start seeds indoors and grow seedlings for 6-8wks
  • Willingness to take observations and collect, clean & share seeds

Registration deadline: March 1

Beans for Canadian Climates

We've selected bean varieties that we think hold promise to thrive in Canadian growing conditions. There are snap, shelly and dry beans included. We'll decide what to send you, but you can choose your preferred climate conditions and whether you receive a pole or bush bean.

Requirements:

  • Space to grow 15-20 feet of bean plants
  • 20' isolation distance from any other bean varieties
  • Commitment to taking written observations throughout the season
  • Willingness to collect, clean & share seeds

Registration deadline: March 15

Ground Cherry Breeding Project Year 5 (intermediate/advanced)

Participatory Plant Breeding is not as complicated as it sounds, but it is more involved than just saving seed. For the past 4 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:

  • We'll send you a packet of last year’s seeds, collected from all those gardens last year.
  • Grow as many plants as you can (15-20 would be a good range to aim for).
  • Uproot the short-bearing plants that grow flat on the ground prior to flowering, to prevent them from crossing with the tall-bearing plants.
  • Taste the berries and keep seeds only from the ones that have excellent flavour.

Every time we repeat this process we get closer to the goal of a ground cherry that tastes great, and bears on upright (easy to harvest) plants.

Requirements:

  • 30-40 sq ft of garden space
  • ability to start seedlings indoors at 20-25C 6-8 weeks before transplanting

Registration deadline: March 1

You can participate in as many Community Seed Grow-Out projects as you'd like.
Sign up now using this form.

Seed Library - Core Grow-Outs

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 preserving high priority varieties for the Seed Library, please fill out THIS FORM (or contact our Seed Library Co-ordinator angie@seeds.ca with questions)

Community Grow-Outs managed in partnership with:

EFAO logo
Bauta logo