Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Seed Saving 101 Syllabus

In this seminar, participants will learn the reasons for saving seeds, the botany necessary to saving seeds and the mechanisms of seed saving. Students will know which plants have easily saved seeds, which are more difficult, and how to deal with both. Through use of actual plants and flowers, students will learn the process of hand pollination on different plants and the devices and supplies used in pollinating different seeds. Students will be shown how to breed their own vegetable varieties and learn why that is an important contribution to modern agriculture.

Class will meet from 6:30 to 8:00 PM for three Thursdays in a row, October 26, and November 1 and 8. Dress warmly as our room is not well heated and close to the ocean: we can get chilly.

Upon completion of the course, students should confidently be able to save seeds from a wide variety of vegetable species and understand the importance of doing so and be able to commence breeding new vegetable varieties.

Instructor: David King 310.722.3656 (my cell phone)

Office hours are by appointment, I will meet with you at any reasonable hour of the day to help you understand the material. If you are confused by ANYTHING, contact me. I expect every student that completes this seminar to achieve the goals outlined above. If you are not comfortable with anything, call, email or come see me (by appointment) and we will clarify as needed. I want every one who completes this course to feel they have met the goals above.

Week 1
Why Save Seeds
Botany of Seed Saving /Seed Morphology
Open Pollinated vs Hybrid

Week 2
Inbred and Outbred Plants
Practical Process of Seed Saving
Recording Your Work

Week 3
Seed Storage
Practical Lab – flower dissection
Course Applicability and Review

I will provide tea from the garden – students should bring their own cups. We need to leave the classroom as clean as we found it. In most cases, it won't be hard.

Students are urged to become active members of the Seed Library of Los Angeles and even to participate in the Best Practices committee which is the standard setting committee of the Library – it needs people with your knowledge of seed saving and the skills you have learned here.

Handouts will be available at the SLOLA blog site; slola.blogspot.com

The class is not full. If you have friends you know would like to be a part of this class, please let them know. We are holding the class outside as much as we can. Please have layers handy to keep warm as we get an onshore flow during class time that can be downright nippy some nights. If it is too cold, we do have indoor spaces to use. Coffee/warm herb tea will be available. Bring your own mug. We have LA tap water from a hose – if that's not your kind of thing, you'll need to bring your own.

Please go to http://www.seedalliance.org/Publications/ and download A Seed Saving Guide for Gardeners and Farmers. That will be our textbook. It is free.  I've given the OSA a donation every year I've been involved in seed saving – the work they do is so germane to the mission of the Seed Library Of Los Angeles and my personal goals for our society; They deserve our support.

By the third class, I would like each student to have a 10x or more jewelers' loupe. If you have questions about this, wait until the first class, I will show you some that I have and your can decide what you want will serve you best.


  1. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is great blog.
    An excellent read. I’ll certainly be back.
    heirloom seeds

  2. Thank you, Khuram. I have a few posts coming up that rely on some photos, but I'm usually more of wordsmith than a photographer. Thank you for your comments and look for more photo heavy posts in the near future! david

  3. Hey David! I'm so happy I stumbled upon you and SLOLA, but sorry I missed your seed saving seminar! I will sign up so that I can get announcements, and will come to some of the meetings next year.
    I was a volunteer for the Yes on Prop 37 campaign...so sad but I am optimistic--especially when I learn about and meet more people like you. You are doing Gods work.

    Take care and see you soon!