6. Art and Science of Organic Seed Production
Quality seed production requires specialized knowledge and attention. Learn how to incorporate commercial seed production – from small grains, corn and beans as well as vegetables from A to Z – into your organic operation, or breed seed developed to perform well on your own farm. John Navazio, chief scientist at the Organic Seed Alliance and Nash Huber, a farmer with diverse seed crop experience will cover breeding methodologies with a focus on genetic resiliency, adaption to regional organic farming conditions and choosing for quality traits such as flavor and nutrition.
By integrating seed production into your operation, you build resiliency both from a production and economic standpoint. You can increase your marketing options by adding seeds to your offerings or focus on providing yourself with the seed that is best suited to your climate, soils and markets. Learn how to select for traits such as quality, ripening dates, size and storability through experimentation and observation. By understanding the intricacies of seeds, such as the difference between self pollinators and cross pollinating types, annual and biennial crops you can plan to maintain or improve the quality of the seed you produce. There will be discussion of the infrastructure and management needed to produce consistently high quality seed.This course will provide the practical and scientific background you need in understanding seed biology basics, and how to troubleshoot and improve issues you may have with varieties you are currently growing. Beyond the selection, planting and growing process, care must also be taken in the timing and handling of the harvest as well as cleaning, sorting and storage of your seed to maintain optimal germination rates. Organic production has its own special challenge, and this course is taught by two pioneers in this important and emerging field. A free copy of the newly published book The Organic Seed Grower by John Navazio, will be provided as the companion resource book to each attendee of this class.