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Published July 23, 2010, 12:00 AM

Carrington tour highlights organic seed production

A tour covering fundamentals of organic seed production and cover crops is planned Aug. 4 at the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center.

A tour covering fundamentals of organic seed production and cover crops is planned Aug. 4 at the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center.

Learn how to create, preserve and produce your own seed varieties on your farm or garden. Organizers will cover basic seed growing and a variety of improvement skills, including timing of planting, preventing cross-pollination, selecting for improved varieties, seed maturation and harvest and seed-cleaning techniques.

Instructors are: Joel Reitin, production manager for Seeds of Change in New Mexico; Steve Zwinger, CREC research agronomist and owner of Prairie Seeds in Carrington; Yvonne Lawley, CREC research agronomist; and Theresa Podoll, interim manager for the Family Farmers Seed Cooperative and a seed producer from Fullerton, N.D.

The one-day class is designed to provide organic farmers and gardeners interested in growing seed with resources and knowledge necessary to produce a commercial seed crop and/or save high-quality seed for on-farm and garden use.

The class will include a seed cleaning and conditioning demonstration led by Reiten and a tour of the cover crop variety trials at CREC and discussion on the market potential of cover crop seed led by Zwinger and Lawley. The target audience is organic farmers and gardeners interested in moving into seed production for on-farm use and/or sale as well as farmers with basic seed production experience seeking to refine their skills.

The class will emphasize:

  • Isolation distances for genetic purity.
  • Horticultural management for the best seed yield and quality.
  • Adequate population size for genetic elasticity.
  • Maintaining self- vs. cross-pollinated species.
  • Optimum timing of maturation and harvest.
  • Harvesting, processing and storing seed.

The class is being sponsored by the Family Farmers Seed Cooperative, Organic Seed Alliance, NPSAS Farm Breeder Club, and FARRMS with funding support from USDA’s Rural Development Rural Business Enterprise Grant program.

For more information and registration details, e-mail Theresa Podoll at dtpodoll@drtel.net or download a registration brochure at: http://organicseedcoop.com/about/events.

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