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Step 6: Planting and Restocking the Seed

Farm Radio International offers helpful tips on planting and re-stocking the seed. You may find the information that they provide on planting and re-stocking seed to be very helpful:

  • Test seeds regularly by selecting a number of seeds for each plant type and using a seed germination test. Do not pick out only the best seeds: choose them randomly. For plants with about 8 different characteristics, test at least 100 seeds.
  • To test whether seeds are still healthy, place the seeds on newspaper which has been moistened with water. Lightly roll up the newspaper with the seeds in it. Place the roll of newspaper and seeds in a paper or cloth bag in a warm, sunny place. Keep the paper roll slightly wet. In 6 to 12 days, the seeds will begin to sprout. Remember that some varieties of seeds will be slower to sprout. Seeds which do not sprout have died. They can sometimes be used for feeding animals, such as chickens.

NOTE: If more than half the seeds do not sprout then you must plant out your seed, and collect and save the seed from those plants. If more than half of the seeds sprout, you know that the seed is still healthy, and it isn't necessary yet to add more seed to your stock.
You can add more seed to your community seed bank by collecting and storing new seed or by planting out the original seed, allowing its plants to grow, and collecting and storing the second generation of seed.
If you decide to plant out your original seed remember to:

  • Choose an area similar to the area where the plant came from originally. If you do this, you will get plants with similar characteristics such as drought tolerance or insect resistance.
  • Plant out the seed in different areas or fields. This increases the chances of having at least one good source of seed.
  • Interplant the seeds if this is how they were originally found. But be careful to plant the seeds away from other similar plants so they don't cross pollinate.

After planting out seeds, collect a large number of seeds from the plants, including seeds from plants that look strong and weak, tall and short, with or without fruit. And keep your seed stocks dry, cool, and safe from insects.

For more information about starting a community seed bank, or about collecting, drying and storing seeds, ask farmers for their ideas, or contact your local agricultural office or community organizations.
Keep protecting rare and local crops and useful plants. Remember they are the future of your farm and your family.

Information Source: Farm Radio International, "Starting a Community Seed Bank," Package 33, Script 6, July 1994.

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