Canadian Organic Vegetable Improvement 2021

Posted on Wednesday, 30 June 2021 under Stories

This year at our Research and Education Seed Farm, we are taking part in the rutabaga, radicchio, and African eggplant variety trials, as well as a red carrot breeding project.

The red carrot breeding project is complementary to pre-existing orange and red carrot trials happening as part of CANOVI, and builds on the work of the Organic Seed Alliance and Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture. There is a big interest in new carrot varieties by BC organic and conventional vegetable growers. Our main goal is to produce stunning red carrots with excellent flavour and bolting resistance. We sowed our red carrots in mid-June and have been using a flame weeder to control weeds during the long germination window.

Our team has been lucky to collaborate with many generous and skilled people and organizations throughout this project. The seeds from two maternal lines we currently have on our Farm are from the heated greenhouse at UBC. They will also be evaluated at various farms across BC.

Our radicchio and rutabaga variety trials are built off the results of last year’s CANOVI trials, the goals of which are to identify the best performing varieties, identify varieties that would make suitable parents for future breeding populations, and build capacity to conduct on-farm variety trials.

close-up of a vegetable

We are trialling more radicchio this year than ever. Our team is currently working with 27 varieties grouped into sets of four to six. This format allows farmers to trial-specific varieties of interest to them for reasons such as desirable harvest window or type of radicchio. For rutabagas, we are specifically looking for varieties that are resistant to clubroot disease and have increased resistance to the cabbage root maggot. There are five core varieties that we grew last year as well as an additional five ‘add-in’ varieties, some of which we have not tried before.

Our African eggplants have been in the ground since late May and are slowly perking up after the shock of transplanting. We have not grown bitter eggplant at our Farm before so it will be interesting to learn from these plants and see which varieties are best adapted to our climate.

Make sure to watch out for upcoming events as part of the 2021 seed webinar series. All webinars are free and are an opportunity to join the national seed conversation.

Stay tuned to our social media channels for exciting Farm trial updates.

If you have any questions about the CANOVI variety trials, please contact us.