Seed to Seed School

North Fork Valley, Western Colorado, 2019

Seed to Seed School

Seed to Seed School is a nine day program that occurs once a month over the course of the growing season March through November. Set in and around the North Fork Valley of Colorado, the highest abundance of organic growers in the state will allow for unique deep dive into growing a wide diversity seed crops. We will look into the basics of seed saving, seed biology, seed breeding, seed cleaning, seed banks/libraries and marketing seed, regional seed companies, and seed contracts.

We will start and end the program at the homestead of Lance Swigart, a seed saver for decades. His gardens are famous in the area and this will be a unique look into his farm with a focus towards how you too can integrate seed growing into your farm or garden. Lance will be with us each time to offer his wisdom and experience as we tour area farms and their seed growing operations. Each month will feature a new farm and farmer as well as going back to Lance’s homestead throughout the season. We will look specifically into a new family of plants each month, which will allow us to talk about how to grow seeds of many different plant.

We will be based out of the Rogers Mesa Research Station. We will be able to grow some crops out there over the season, perhaps a pepper in its F3 stage, purple barley, other grain trials, or other fun plants! We will decide as a group which crops to grow for seed. We will also decide on a crop to do a variety trial, so we can go through the process of a variety trial and see on the ground how to make seed saving decisions based on the results of a variety trial. We will talk about and have hands on experience looking at plant populations and make decision on traits we want to see in the variety. The interns at the Station will help maintain and track these projects in between our visits.

By having a class that is over the course of the season we will be able to hone in on exactly what the participants want to learn and we will get to see many different crops throughout their stages of growth as seed crops. Each week we will be served an amazing nutritious locally sourced meal from the inimitable Chrys Bailey. This will allow us to share as a group, and stay focused on seeds. We will provide at a very reduced cost “The Seed Garden,” which will serve as our textbook for the class.

This unique access to all these farms and farmers will give you many years of experience as you begin, or take your seed growing to the next level, whether it is a home breeding project or sizing up to a commercial scale of seed production. Each week we will have guest speakers as well, including local community members with deep ties to seeds, other farmers from the state, and other seed company owners. This will help to give you a deeper understanding of seeds and seed expertise and growing in our region.

Main Presenter: Lance Swigart
Facilitator: Don Lareau, Zephyros Farm and Garden
Host: Rogers Mesa Research Station (RMRS) and Frank Stonaker, CSU

Seed to Seed School Syllabus

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Fabaceae

March 6

Location: Memorial Hall/Lance’s Garden
Guest Speakers: Sarah Smith, Hotchkiss Seed Library; Julia Coffey and Alisha Wenger, Seeds Trust
Topics:
– Seed companies and seed catalogs: the good the bad and the ugly.
– Seed Libraries a history/check out the Hotchkiss Seed Library

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Asteraceae

April 3

Location: Lance’s Garden/RMRS
Guest Speaker: Pat Frazier
Topics:
– Evaluation of crops to grow for seed.
– Planting for seed vs. for production
– Biodynamic seed saving and growing techniques

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Solanaceae

May 1

Location: Thistle Whistle/RMRS
Guest Speakers: Casey Piscura, Mark Waltermire
Topic:
– Tomato breeding

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Poaceae

June 5

Location: RMRS/J & M Farm Co.
Guest Speakers: Mike Chamas and Jan Hoffman
Topics:
– Breeding of corn
– Growing your own grains

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Cucurbitaceae

July 3

Location: Lance’s Garden/RMRS
Guest Speaker: Lyn Howe
Topics:
– Squashes tricks tips challenges.
– The different speicies of Cucurbits.
– Mid-Summer in the garden

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Apiaceae

August 7

Location: Trading Post
Guest Speakers: Greg Cranson
Topics:
– Seed to Seed vs Root to Seed methods
– Large scale grain cleaning
– Dehulling and processing

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Brassicaceae

September 4

Location: Zephyros Farm and Garden/RMRS
Topics:
– Adding seed production into an existing operation
– Teaching seed saving

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Amaranthaceae

October 2

Location: High Desert Seed
Guest Speaker: Laura Parker
Topics:
– Growing for Seed Companies, Regional, National, etc.
– Seed cleaning secrets and tips of the trade
– Storing roots/plants for the winter for biennial crops.

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Alliaceae

November 6

Location: Lance’s Garden/RMRS
Topic:
– Seed cleaning using the many seed cleaners at RMRS as well as simple screens, fans and other techniques.

Guest Speakers

Lance Swigart

Lance Swigart

Featured Speaker

Don Lareau

Don Lareau

Zephyros Farm and Garden

Frank Stonaker

Frank Stonaker

Rogers Mesa Research Center

Lyn Howe

Lyn Howe

Mark Waltermire

Mark Waltermire

Thistle Whistle Farm

Casey Piscura

Casey Piscura

Wild Mountain Seeds

Mike Chamas

Mike Chamas

J & M Farm

Pat Frazier

Pat Frazier

Peace and Plenty Farm

Seeds Trust

Seeds Trust

Julia Coffey and Alisha Wenger

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith

Delta County Libraries

Greg Cranson

Greg Cranson

Lamborn Farm

Laura Parker

Laura Parker

High Desert Seed

Need More Info?

If you need more info or have some questions, contact us and we will get back to you promptly.