Learn the basics of saving seeds, plant genetics, collection techniques, storage and viability. You may even be able to breed your own varieties, adapted specifically to growing conditions in your garden! Join Rebecca Last, Master Gardener, for an introduction to seed saving, beginning from the premise that in today's concentrated market for seed producers, saving seeds is an act of quiet revolution. The differences between hybridized and open-pollinated plants are discussed. We revisit Gregor Mendel's 19th century experiments with peas to get a better understanding of the dominant and recessive traits for some common vegetable seeds. We will look at seed varieties that are suitable for beginner, intermediate and expert seed-savers. Timing and collection methods are discussed, along with information on seed sanitation and storage. Finally, we discuss long-term viability of seeds, and the presentation ends with a list of useful resources.
Rebecca Last has been gardening on and off since age 8, and has been a member of Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton since 2005. Her small suburban garden is certified by the Canadian Wildlife Federation as wildlife habitat. Rebecca grows a dozen or more varieties of heritage tomatoes every year. Her garden design includes elements of permaculture and she has recently begun experimenting with biodynamic gardening techniques. Rebecca has been honoured by the Ottawa Horticultural Society with: the Mary Bryant Award for use of native plants in garden design (2014); the Members’ Appreciation Award (2015); and the Ontario Horticultural Association Service Award for meritorious service to horticulture (2017). In 2018, Rebecca received an Ontario Volunteer Service Award in recognition of her ten years of service with Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton. Rebecca’s gardening addiction is enabled by her loving husband Richard and a collection of very spoiled rescue cats.