Agriculture

Many helpful articles on composting, compost bins and books, and a terrific Beginner’s Guide.

ECHO’s seed ministry is a seed bank set up to provide sample packets of seed to those working on behalf of the poor and who want to evaluate a new crop species or variety. ECHO’s seed bank carries, primarily, seeds of plants likely to thrive under difficult growing conditions in the tropics and subtropics. Their goal is not to serve as seed suppliers, as would a seed store, but as a resource for hard-to-find seeds for development workers to experiment with under the conditions of their project areas. They do not distribute large quantities of seed. Rather, if and when a species shows promise, recipients save and multiply their own seed or purchase larger quantities from other sources.

The CGIAR is a strategic alliance of members, partners and international agricultural centers that mobilizes science to benefit the poor. Their mission is to achieve sustainable food security and reduce poverty in developing countries through scientific research and research-related activities in the fields of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, policy, and environment.

Information on seed types, what to plant, where to plant, edible seeds, and other topics.

ISSI has sponsored projects to help people become truly self-reliant in more than a dozen countries. They provide regionally adapted, open-pollinated seeds and the essential designs, tools and knowledge. They are now using Permaculture design principles to help people grow their own food and seeds.

Numerous resources and links on seeds and agriculture.

The Millennium Seed Bank Project seeks to develop a global seed conservation network, capable of safeguarding wild plant species. This will make direct contributions to national and global conservation/development programs, and will make a big contribution to meeting the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The current project runs until 2010.

Are you looking for a particular vegetable, herb or flower variety and it’s not available in your favorite catalogs? Their new Seed and Plant Finder lets you quickly search the online catalogs of more than 500 mail-order seed companies. All you have to do is type in the variety you’re looking for in the search box, and you’ll get a list of links to the companies offering the variety.

The Organic Materials Review Institute provides organic certifiers, growers, manufacturers, and suppliers with an independent review of products intended for use in certified organic production, handling, and processing. The purpose of the Organic Seed Database is to provide a single place to find supplies of commercially available organic seeds and planting stock.

A detailed, informative site on specifics of composting. Provides numerous ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ of composting.

The web site is from the Gerhard Leubner Lab at the University of Freiburg, Germany. Topics covered include research projects, seed dictionary, seed structure, evolution, germination, dormancy, modeling, technology and ecology, as well as plant hormones endosperm weakening and water relations.

Seed Savers Exchange is a nonprofit, member-supported organization that saves and shares the heirloom seeds of garden heritage, forming a living legacy that can be passed down through generations. SSE members have distributed an estimated 1 million samples of rare garden seeds since the founding nearly 35 years ago. Those seeds now are widely used by seed companies, small farmers supplying local and regional markets, chefs and home gardeners and cooks, alike. Seed Savers Exchange is the largest non-governmental seed bank in the United States. They permanently maintain more than 25,000 endangered vegetable varieties.

The web site contains information on collecting seeds, storing seeds, sowing seeds, germinating seeds and exchanging seeds, with pictures of seeds, seed pods and seedlings. There are life-size photos of 700 seeds, arranged roughly in order of size. There are photos of nearly 700 seedlings, and germination information for 1,500 species. The Botany Section covers hundreds of botanical and gardening terms, with charts and photos.

Here you will find information on seed identification, seed dormancy, seed testing and seed analysis, seed development, seed germination, and tetrazolium testing for viability. The seed images database contains seed pictures and descriptions of over 1,700 species of seeds.

This article, from the Department of Horticultural Science of North Carolina Research, gives very helpful guidance on starting plants from seeds. Growing your own transplants from seeds indoors can give you a head start on the growing season. In some cases, it may be the only way to obtain plants of a new or special cultivar (variety).

Growing plants from seed is not always an easy task, and over the years this nursery manager has developed and adopted the following techniques to ensure that seeds get a healthy start. Helpful videos and links are also provided.

Select a vegetable from the list to get a page of facts on starting and growing it from seed. Then check out Grow Guide, the online guide that helps you know which vegetable seeds to start, week by week.