OSA is dedicated to providing quality seed-related resources to the public free of charge. Our publications include policy reports, plant breeding and variety trial guides, seed production guides, online tutorials, worksheets, record sheets, and proceedings from our biennial Organic Seed Growers Conference. Please consider making a tax-deductable donation to OSA to ensure we are able to continue publishing cutting edge publications free of charge.





Policy Reports

State of Organic Seed Report

Published: February 2011
State of Organic Seed (SOS) is an ongoing project to monitor the status of organic seed systems in the United States. The project aims to develop diverse stakeholder involvement in implementing policy, research, education, and market‐driven activities that result in the improved quality, integrity, and use of organic seed. This report is the first comprehensive analysis of the challenges and opportunities in building the organic seed sector.
Plant Breeding and Variety Trials

On-farm Variety Trials: A Guide for Organic Vegetable, Herb, and Flower Producers

Published: June 2007
This guide provides training in basic, on-farm experimental design, as well as tools to efficiently and effectively manage on-farm trials and utilize trial results. Readers will learn how to conduct on-farm variety trials and use the results of trials to direct their variety selection and seed purchasing choices in a manner that minimizes farm risk.

2012 California Organic Variety Trials Report

Published: January 2013
This report is the result of variety trials conducted in 2012 by Organic Seed Alliance in Arcata and San Jaun Bautista, California. Researchers evaluated close to 100 varieties, including varieties of broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, green beans, and Japanese cucumber. Data was collected from both on-farm trial locations in the summer and fall of 2012. This report includes detailed descriptions of trial locations, trial methods, trial result evaluations, and recommendations.

Vegetable Variety Trials for Local Food Production on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State

Published: June 2010
In 2009 OSA conducted variety trials in Jefferson County, WA for 11 different crops, with over 170 varieties, evaluating these varieties for their quality and marketability into the adverse weather conditions of fall and winter. The trial objective was to assist growers to expand their season and diversify their winter vegetable production on the Olympic Peninsula supporting increased availability of local foods. This report is the result of these trials and includes trial methods, results, recommendations, and trial evaluation data.

Participatory Plant Breeding Toolkit

Published: June 2012
Participatory Plant Breeding (PPB) is a highly effective on-farm breeding method that involves a close collaboration between farmers and researchers. The approach provides farmers an opportunity to adapt crop varieties to their specific regions and organic farming practices. The toolkit includes a background on the theory and practice of PPB, case studies of successful projects, and worksheets to facilitate project planning and execution.

2013 California North Coast Organic Wheat Trials

Published: January 2014

This report includes data results from 2013 organic wheat variety trials conducted in Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, and Humboldt counties. Results include data on lodging, rust, plant height, yield, moisture, protein, and informal baking trials on harvested wheat.

Introduction to On-farm Organic Plant Breeding

Published: April 2014

This manual provides an overview of on-farm organic plant breeding methods, including an overview of basic genetics, farm-based experimental design, and appropriate breeding techniques for organic farms, among other useful background and instruction.

How to Breed Sweet Corn for Organic Agriculture

Published: April 2014

This manual teaches farmers how to breed sweet corn for organic production systems, including step-by-step instruction for developing breeding goals, identifying breeding material, performing breeding methods, and maintaining a new variety for quality and uniformity.

How to Breed Tomatoes for Organic Agriculture

Published: April 2014

This manual teaches farmers how to breed tomatoes for organic production systems, including step-by-step instruction for developing breeding goals, identifying breeding material, performing breeding methods, and maintaining a new variety for quality and uniformity.

How to Breed Carrots for Organic Agriculture

Published: April 2014

This manual teaches farmers how to breed carrots for organic production systems, including step-by-step instruction for developing breeding goals, identifying breeding material, performing breeding methods, and maintaining a new variety for quality and uniformity.

2014 Organic Silage Corn Variety Trial for Coastal Humboldt County

Published: November 2014
This report is the result of a variety trial conducted in 2014 by Organic Seed Alliance in Arcata, California. The goal of this trial is to provide coastal organic dairy farmers with better information about silage corn variety choices by evaluating 10 silage corn varieties in a systematic trial. The report includes trialing methods, results, and an overview discussion.
Seed Production

Weather-Related Risk Reduction Guidelines for Dry-Seeded Specialty Seed Crops

Published: June 2006
The presence of inclement weather during maturation and harvest may adversely affect all dry-seeded seed crops. By following preventative measures and preparing for inclement weather, growers can significantly reduce risks and prevent financial losses. The scope of this publication covers wet-weather-related harvesting issues and recommendations for dry-seeded crops in the Pacific Northwest.

A Seed Saving Guide for Gardeners and Farmers

Published: April 2010
This publication from OSA condenses years of farming, gardening, plant breeding and seed saving wisdom, as well as conversations with many prominent seed experts. The guide covers the basics of seed growing from choosing appropriate varieties for seed saving to harvesting, processing, and storing seed. It assumes that the reader has basic knowledge of vegetable growing.

Principles and Practices of Organic Bean Seed Production in the Pacific Northwest

Published: 2007
The Principles and Practices of Organic Bean Seed Production in the Pacific Northwest guide includes the basic knowledge needed for on-farm organic bean seed production. The guide includes basic bean seed biology; climatic requirements, soil fertility requirements, planting and cultivation for growing bean seed; flowering and pollination; isolation requirements; genetic maintenance and improvement; harvesting; and common diseases.

Principles and Practices of Organic Beet Seed Production in the Pacific Northwest

Published: 2010
The Principles and Practices of Organic Beet Seed Production in the Pacific Northwest guide includes the basic knowledge needed for on-farm organic beet seed production. The guide includes basic beet seed biology; climatic requirements, soil fertility requirements, planting and cultivation for growing bean seed; flowering and pollination; isolation requirements; genetic maintenance and improvement; harvesting; and common diseases.

Principles and Practices of Organic Carrot Seed Production in the Pacific Northwest

Published: 2010
The Principles and Practices of Organic Carrot Seed Production in the Pacific Northwest guide includes the basic knowledge needed for on-farm organic beet seed production. The guide includes basic carrot seed biology; climatic requirements, soil fertility requirements, planting and cultivation for growing bean seed; flowering and pollination; isolation requirements; genetic maintenance and improvement; harvesting; and common diseases.

Principles and Practices of Organic Lettuce Seed Production in the Pacific Northwest

Published: 2010
The Principles and Practices of Organic Lettuce Seed Production in the Pacific Northwest guide includes the basic knowledge needed for on-farm organic beet seed production. The guide includes basic lettuce seed biology; climatic requirements, soil fertility requirements, planting and cultivation for growing bean seed; flowering and pollination; isolation requirements; genetic maintenance and improvement; harvesting; and common diseases.

Principles and Practices of Organic Radish Seed Production in the Pacific Northwest

Published: 2007
The Principles and Practices of Organic Radish Seed Production in the Pacific Northwest guide includes the basic knowledge needed for on-farm organic beet seed production. The guide includes basic radish seed biology; climatic requirements, soil fertility requirements, planting and cultivation for growing bean seed; flowering and pollination; isolation requirements; genetic maintenance and improvement; harvesting; and common diseases.

Principles and Practices of Organic Spinach Seed Production in the Pacific Northwest

Published: 2007
The Principles and Practices of Organic Spinach Seed Production in the Pacific Northwest guide includes the basic knowledge needed for on-farm organic beet seed production. The guide includes basic spinach seed biology; climatic requirements, soil fertility requirements, planting and cultivation for growing bean seed; flowering and pollination; isolation requirements; genetic maintenance and improvement; harvesting; and common diseases.

Organic Seed Production Tutorials

Published: October 2013
The Organic Seed Production Tutorials include instructions on producing beets and chard, brassicas, carrots, lettuce, onions, and wet-seeded crops. The tutorials also cover climatic considerations, and seed disease and quality. These online tutorials combine text, images, audio, and video to teach professional techniques for organic seed production.

Organic Seed Resource Guide

Published: 2009
This guide is intended for producers and agricultural professionals seeking information about organic seed production. Most of the resources are focused in the Western Region of the United States (OR, WA, ID, and CA), but much of the information may be applicable to all climatic regions. Each section of the guide includes a brief introduction followed by a list of available web and print resources and references to organizations and events.

Climatic Considerations for Seed Crops: Guidelines and Field Trainings for Organic and Specialty Vegetable Seed Producers

Published: December 2013
This guide provides detailed climatic considerations, including environmental influences on pollination and fertilization, and the influence of temperature, day length, frost-free days, precipitation, and wind on seed production, for organic and specialty seed production in the Northwest U.S. The guide also includes sections on environmental management, crop selection for seed production, and history and geography of seed production in the Northwest.

Consideraciones Climáticas para el Cultivo de Semillas: Guía y Entrenamiento en Terreno para Productores de Semillas Orgánicas y Especialidades de Hortalizas

Published: December 2013

Este guía suministra consideraciones climáticas en detalle,  incluyendo influencias del medio ambiente sobre polinización y fertilización y la influenza de la temperatura, duración del día,  días sin escarcha, precipitación, y el viento sobre la producción de semillas.  Para la producción de semillas organicos y semillas especialidades en el Noroeste de EEUU.  Este guía también incluye secciones sobre gestión ambiental, selección de cultivos para la producción de semillas, y la historia y geografía de la producción de semillas en el Noroeste.

Pollinator Management for Organic Seed Producers

Published: January 2014

This new publication aids organic seed producers in understanding the role and diversity of seed crop pollinators, as well as strategies for reducing pollen movement between organic and conventional farms. Profiles of common pollinators, strategies for managing pollination, and guidelines for specific crops are all included.

Worksheets and Record Sheets

Harvest and Handling Seed Record

Use this record sheet to track annual seed harvesting and handling, including: harvest dates; seed source; damage; cleaning methods; weight; storage conditions; and germ details.

Seed Crop Record

Use this record sheet to track annual seed crop details, including: crop location details; emergence details; cultivation methods; disease and pest damage; harvest dates; and selection characteristics.

Trial Evaluation Sheet

Use this record sheet to score variety trials, including: varieties; reps; and selection trait scoring.

Variety Trial Planning Worksheet

Use this worksheet to plan field variety trials. This document includes sections for desired variety traits, trial varieties used, planning tips, field assessments, trial layout, and evaluation criteria and timing.
Organic Seed Growers Conference Proceedings
Organic Seed Growers Conference Webinar Archive

Webinar Series from 7th Organic Seed Growers Conference

Published: February 2014
Watch archived webinar sessions broadcasted live from the 7th Organic Seed Growers Conference held January 30 - February 1, 2014 in Corvallis, Oregon. The webinar series includes the following sessions: Why Organic Seed Matters and How to Meet the Demand; Research Update: Small Grains and Corn; Research Update: Vegetable Crops; Unpacking the Cell Fusion Debate; Pollinator Conservation Strategies for Organic Seed Producers; Managing Seed-Borne Diseases in Seed Production.

Webinar Series from 6th Organic Seed Growers Conference

Published: February 2012
Watch archived webinar sessions broadcasted live from the 6th Organic Seed Growers Conference held January 19 - 21, 2012 in Port Townsend, Washington. The webinar series includes the following sessions: Introduction to On-Farm Plant Breeding; Organic Wheat Breeding; Breeding Peas, Sweet Corn, Broccoli, Winter Squash and Carrots as part of NOVIC; Organic Corn Breeding; Breeding for Nutrition; Breeding for Positive Microbial Interactions.

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“We know system diversity is one of the foundation stones to successful organic production and we have seen a demonstrated commitment from OSA to build that component of diversity relating to seed. I want to ensure my dollars to on-the-ground projects, a place where an emphasis to make an enduring difference is part of the mandate and where my dollars can be leveraged to build a stronger, healthier food system around the world.”

 

Alec McElrich

OSA supporter

Seattle, Washington