Citizen Seed Trial

Please note: Sign up for the Citizen Seed Trial 2022 is now closed. Registration typically takes place between December and January. Please check back at that time to sign up for our 2023 trial. You are still welcome to join the Citizen Seed Trial Facebook group (see link to join at the bottom of this page) and follow along, and to take part in any virtual or in person events/workshops for this season that we promote to participants.

Our Citizen Seed Trial (CST) is a public, science program that engages gardeners and passionate growers in the process of seed saving and breeding. Every spring since 2016, we carefully select, prepare, and deliver hundreds of packages containing varieties of vegetable seeds to people across BC.

Each year we choose different varieties to trial based on particular characteristics that our team has identified as being valuable for BC growers while ensuring varieties are suitable and engaging for home gardeners.

CST participants can request certain breeds during the sign-up process and are encouraged to provide feedback that can be analyzed by our team for continued research and development.

We collect data through SeedLinked. Seedlinked is an online platform that allows our team to track and analyze data from CST participants. Home gardeners and growers enter information about their seeds’ performance with guidance from us. The data is gathered and shared back with all participants and the wider plant breeding community through Seedlinked.

Whether it is on a balcony or in the garden, CST provides the public with an opportunity to not only engage with seed breeders but if they chose, to actively save and participate in local seed development. We offer detailed growing guidance, seed resources, and trial updates through our CST Facebook Group and regular newsletters, to encourage home gardeners in the quest to grow their plants. As a citizen science program, we expect real results from real people. We hope participants cultivate their passion for home gardening and help grow BC’s seed development community.

Tomatoes growing in a greenhouse.

Citizen Seed Trial 2022

Our 2022 trials are geared towards understanding variety selection, the differences between open pollinated and hybrid varieties, and to further your understanding of plant breeding. Participants will test varieties of cherry tomatoes, carrots, and bush beans.

2022 Citizen Seed Trial Resources

2022 Citizen Seed Trial Rubric

2022 Citizen Seed Trial Printable Sheets

Tomatoes

This year we will trial a selection of cherry tomatoes. We will compare the highly popular hybrid variety SunGold against the open pollinated varieties Soleil and Strawberry cherry. The Soleil cherry tomatoes are from our very own Research and Education Farm and the Strawberry cherry variety from Metchosin Farms, a local seed grower.

Bush Beans

We will be comparing the EZ Pick and Straight and Narrow varieties. These bush beans may look similar, but they actually have quite different growth patterns that we will observe. As bush beans are largely self pollinated, they make a great crop to try out your seed saving skills on. Both bean varieties were harvested last year at our Research and Education Seed Farm.

Carrots

Back in 2017, BC organic carrot growers identified a need for an open pollinated nantes carrot to replace the dependable hybrid storage carrot variety Bolero. Bolero seed is produced by a multinational company based in France. While Bolero roots grow reliably, its seed supply can not be counted on; rather, it is subject to business decisions and supply chains that extend far beyond Canada. To strengthen BC’s food and seed security — the CANOVI orange nantes carrot breeding project was born. After identifying suitable parent lines in 2018, the carrot breeding population has been selected for flavour, colour, minimal tapering, blunt tips, and resilience in BC growing condition. We’re excited for you to trial it against Bolero F1, the cultivar that spurred its development. This is a great trial to join if you are interested in learning about biennial seed production and carrot breeding efforts.

Join our Citizen Seed Trial Facebook Group

Stay in the loop!

Missed a message? Please see below for our emails going out to all Citizen Seed growers this year.

We are happy to announce that tomato and bean seeds have been mailed and should be arriving at your doorsteps in the next little while. Here’s some information that will help you get started.

Find Out More

Let us know if you have not yet received tomato or bean seeds. Carrots are growing to seed at a UBC greenhouse and will be mailed out in early June. Learn about how to rate your germination and enter your sowing dates into SeedLinked.

Find Out More

Learn about carrot breeding for flavour and colour. Watch the webinar on eOrganics youtube channel here.

Find Out More

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