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Harvesting seeds from a vegetable garden

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Squash (Cucurbita moschata 'Trombocino').
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Gilles Murray)

Although there are national and international seed banks, there is some doubt as to whether they will be enough to preserve genetic material, since seeds’ viability fades with time. To maintain this viability and keep heritage species and cultivars alive, the solution is to grow them! This is the best way to save plants threatened with extinction.

In the case of vegetable species dominated by hybrids, it can be useful to grow heritage cultivars that are difficult to find and have certain desirable qualities (nutritional value, taste, texture, etc.). You don’t have to grow more plants than usual to harvest their seeds – you just need to be familiar with the general principles of plant reproduction.

Based on an article by Nathalie Leuenberger in Quatre-Temps magazine, Vol. 23, No.4

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