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Seed Library at the Farm Hub

This season, the Hudson Valley Seed Library partnered with the Farm Hub to grow a variety of plants for seed including delicata squash and broccoli. These are vegetables that can easily cross-pollinate with other varieties of the same species, thus making reproducing reliable seed a challenge. The Farm Hub fields were used to grow both the broccoli and squash on a large scale and without similar species nearby that could threaten to interbreed with the varieties being grown.

This was particularly important for the broccoli variety planted this year. Building on a participatory breeding project initiated by the Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative (NOVIC), the Seed Library planted 1,000 plants of an open pollinated broccoli variety particularly developed for organic farmers. Open pollinated seeds have more genetic diversity, which allows them to adapt to local conditions over time. This gives them a few advantages over hybrid seeds which cannot be saved from year to year. Of particular interest for organic farmers, an open pollinated broccoli variety could allow broccoli growers to direct sow, avoid costly greenhouse transplanting, save money by saving seeds year to year, and adapt varieties to match local conditions.