Farming workshop focuses on seed selection

A workshop on vegetable seed selection and saving will be led by a Northwest expert from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 20 in McCollum Park at Washington State University Snohomish County Extension’s Cougar Auditorium, 600 128th St. SE, Everett.

Farmers, gardeners and agricultural students will learn about “Fundamentals of On-Farm Plant Breeding” with Organic Seed Alliance senior scientist and WSU Extension specialist John Navazio. He will be joined by Michaela Colley, executive director for the alliance. The workshop is sponsored by WSU Snohomish County Extension.

Registration costs $60 and includes instruction, materials, box lunch and a copy of Navazio’s recent book, “The Organic Seed Grower: A Farmer’s Guide to Vegetable Seed Production.”Go to http://tinyurl.com/SeedGrower to learn about the book.

People who attend the workshop will learn how to boost vegetable quality through careful seed selection. Growing seed, sourcing germplasm and conducting variety trials will be covered, as well as basic variety improvement techniques for inbreeding and outbreeding crops.

Navazio trains farmers, university students and others in organic seed production and the fundamentals of on-farm plant breeding for organic systems. His work includes increasing genetic breadth in a number of vegetable crops for their nutritional quality, flavor, texture and ability to scavenge nutrients, compete with weeds and resist heat and drought.

Colley manages participatory plant breeding, research and education projects with farmers, university researchers and other seed professionals. She has written several educational publications on organic seed production, on-farm crop improvement and variety trials, and she teaches workshops on seed related topics.

Growers who participate in the workshop will have an opportunity to be part of upcoming research. Prior experience in basic seed growing is helpful, as is reviewing the Organic Seed Alliance’s online tutorials: http://www.seedalliance.org/Publications/

Register online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/321111 or download the form at http://snohomish.wsu.edu/calendar.htm and mail with a check.

Contact Karie Christensen, 425-357-6039 or christensen4@wsu.edu, with registration questions. The fee is subsidized by a state agriculture department specialty crop grant, the Organic Seed Alliance and the nonprofit Greenbank Farm Ag Training Center.

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