The Organic Seed Grower: A Farmer's Guide to Vegetable Seed Production Hardcover – Dec 17 2012
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- Publisher : Chelsea Green Publishing (Dec 17 2012)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 408 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1933392770
- ISBN-13 : 978-1933392776
- Item weight : 1.38 kg
- Dimensions : 21 x 3.2 x 26.7 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #345,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
As interest grows in sustainable agriculture practices, the need for organic seed is also on the rise. For a farm to be certified organic, the seed also has to be designated as such, but it’s not just those seeking or holding certifications who are leaning toward using this kind of seed. Gardeners, hobby farmers, community garden managers, and others are driving demand, particularly for heirloom vegetable varieties. Although there are several commercial companies that offer organic seed for sale, smaller growers and hobbyists are finding enjoyment and affordability in 'seed saving' for themselves. In this valuable, highly detailed exploration of the topic, John Navazio takes readers through the steps necessary to produce an organic seed crop, with best practices, a primer on crop plant biology, and tips on seed storage. Navazio is well-versed in the topic as the senior scientist for the Organic Seed Alliance and a plant breeding and seed specialist for Washington State University Extension. Insightful and experienced, Navazio provides information in a straightforward, easy-to-follow manner. After a fascinating stroll through the history of agricultural seed, he then covers vegetable families—such as alliaceae, brassicaceae, and cucurbitaceae—and their characteristics before delving into the details of particular vegetables, like leeks or lettuce. Even for those who don’t plan on seed saving, these chapters are stunning in their straightforward presentation of complex material, including soil and fertility requirements, growing methods, harvest, and genetic maintenance. As a farmer might say, every description is nutritionally dense. Although the guide is most relevant to farmers who might want to sell seeds as part of a diversified small-farm operation, Navazio’s expertise will likely be fascinating to the backyard gardener as well. Much like other types of homesteading skills, seed saving can be something of an art, and, fortunately, Navazio is an expert teacher.
“John Navazio has written a fantastic guide for organic seed breeders and producers. He has taken organic seed production to a higher level with extensive information on selection, genetic integrity, isolation distances, and seedborne diseases. Although his focus is on plant breeders and commercial growers, much of the information is also applicable to small-scale farms producing seed for on-site use.”--Suzanne Ashworth, Del Rio Botanical; author of Seed to Seed
“With The Organic Seed Grower, well-respected plant breeder and seed expert Dr. John Navazio has written "The definitive book on organic vegetable seed production. Encyclopedic, yet well written and approachable, this seminal work deserves a place in every grower’s library. From the organic farmer seeking a comprehensive reference, to the family farmer who wants to learn how to guarantee access to a favorite variety, to the progressive seed saver committed to success – all will find this book an indispensable guide and Navazio a trusted partner in organic seed improvement.”-- Jim Gerritsen, president, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA)
“John Navazio has made a keystone contribution to the future of the grassroots organic seed movement. The Organic Seed Grower is a fundamental resource for the preservation and improvement of agricultural biodiversity. It is an essential guide to high-quality, organic seed production: well grounded in fundamental principles, brimming with practical techniques, thorough in coverage, and remarkably well organized, accessible, and readable.”--Jeff McCormack, Ph.D., founder of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
“There is nothing more important right now than growing and saving seeds; that most essential aspect of life. While we may have all done this once upon a time, we have mostly lost these skills to private industry or urbanization. Until now. John Navazio reveals all the techniques and tricks, some simple and some complex, that he’s learned only after decades of careful observation and practice. Incredible photos help tell the story of life that seeds represent. The Organic Seed Grower is what we need to take back community control of seeds from those who have taken it from us.”--Tom Stearns, president, High Mowing Organic Seeds
About the Author
John Navazio is both the Senior Scientist for the Organic Seed Alliance and a Plant Breeding and Seed Specialist for Washington State University Extension. He trains farmers, university students, and others in organic seed production and on the fundamentals of on-farm plant breeding. His own breeding work has resulted in a number of new vegetable varieties with improved quality, flavor, and texture, as well as a greater ability to scavenge nutrients, compete with weeds, and resist heat and drought. John develops participatory breeding projects with farmers across North America to improve crop germplasm for regional seed independence. He is the author of The Organic Seed Grower: A Farmer's Guide to Vegetable Seed Production.
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The book is broken down by crop family, with specific advice for each family and for each crop. By far the best part of this book is the emphasis on selection for crop improvement. He give major explanations for the different sorts of selection each crop should go through and the PROPER TIMING within the plants life cycle for each selection step that will maximize the effectiveness of the selection. The book also gives specific advise on how to avoid accidentally selecting for poor characteristics and which traits of each crop species are hardest to maintain and thus the most important to select for. That is incredible information that's NEVER been in print before to my knowledge, at least never before all in one place.
In a sense this is the ultimate seed saving manual as well, for the true seed producer must select in order to maintain any variety true to its original character.
This book is incredibly information-dense while remaining friendly and accessible to any reader. John Navazio's career as a plant breeder in the commercial seed industry has given him a wealth of knowledge regarding vegetable seed production and he shares an amazing amount of that in this book. But he is also clearly a gifted writer and communicator because the book is engaging and fun to read despite the density and depth of the content.
Any organic farmer who has a thought to producing some of their own seed should own this book. It will teach you things about your crops you never knew. This book is also vastly superior to any seed saving manual currently in print, so serious seed saving gardeners should think about owning a copy as well.
I cannot say enough good things about this book, it is a masterpiece.