- Describe how to determine which seeds to save
- Describe favorable plant traits and characteristics
The act of saving seed based on desirable traits and characteristics, has been practiced for nearly 10,000 years. In fact, most of that effort has been done by home gardeners based on the observable evidence that was available to them not scientists in a lab with sensitive equipment.
When the best of each year’s crop is used to harvest seed for the next year the nature of that plant improves over time. And when that amount of time is thousands of years, you get something far different than the first generation.
But mono-cropping has changed, some even say undone, much of what historical seed saving has done for plant diversity. In just the last hundred years we’ve lost an enormous amount of plant diversity. The best way to improve our overall plant diversity is to save seed which in turn provides better resistance to disease, a higher level of food security, and at the very least, saves a little money that would otherwise be spent on buying seed from somewhere else.
Teach the Teacher
Tools & Materials
- Ribbon or string
- Selection traits
- Plant diversity
Introduction (15 minutes)
Begin the lesson by describing selection traits and characteristics to the class. Ask the question “What should we select for?”
Activity (10 minutes)
Have the Students inspect each of the plant varieties currently being cultivated in the raised planters or hydroponic towers. Compare the traits and characteristics for each variety. Determine which plants are most vigorous or display the selection traits and characteristics desired. Mark them with a piece of string or ribbon to indicate that they should be kept for seed. Allow those plants to go to seed so that they can be harvested later.
Discussion (10 minutes)
What do you think will happen if we continue to select seeds based on the most desirable traits in the Lab? Better flavor? Bigger fruit?
Assessment (10 minutes)
Use the following questions to assess the Students before and after the lesson. Tally the responses of the group in the Assessment Tracking Log for comparison:
- By a show of hands, how many of you think we can make the plants we grow better by saving seed from each generation?
- Now that you know how to select seeds based on the most desirable traits and characteristics, how many of you think you could show some-one else how to do it?
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