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Norfolk inbreeders, outbreeders & rogues!

Norfolk inbreeders, outbreeders & rogues!

Heritage Seed Library’s Seed Officer, Vicki Cooke, delivered a lively, engaging and thought-provoking day-long training course to Norfolk Master Gardeners last Sunday. Easton College was the venue, and whilst wet and gloomy outside, inside was the perfect location for a day of learning.

Highlights of the day included dissection of flowers from brassicas, tomatoes and courgettes, identification of pollination methods and repercussions and practical sessions of seed harvesting.


Feedback from delegates:

“Enjoyable, informative and inspiring. I got up early this morning and have extracted the seeds from two varieties of tomatoes – can’t think why I have never made much of an effort to do this before!”

“Thank you for organising this very interesting day, I feel suitably educated.”

“Thoroughly enjoyed it and have decided to make it the basis of my winter article.”


Saving seed is an exciting and money-saving way to complete the growing cycle. It lets you preserve your favourite fruit or vegetable varieties to grow again next year or swap with friends – a great way to get others growing. Anybody can save seed and for beginners, the best crops to start with are peas, French beans and tomatoes.

Some of the highlights of learning for those who came along:

“The difference between male and female plants – I had previously wondered about why some of my Spinacia oleraceae plants didn’t appear to have seed – now I know. And endless useful tips on how to save parsnip seed – very timely as I’m about to do it, having got fed up with the viability of bought seed!!”

“The life cycles of different veg plants and the process of generating your own adapted species via inspection and seed selection.”

“I have often saved seed from the leguminosae family but didn’t realise that broad bans and runner beans will freely cross pollinate whereas peas/french beans will not. I will be more careful in future!”

“Tomato seeds are ripe as soon as the fruit begins to colour whereas pepper seeds are ripe when the fruit actually turns to red/orange.”


For more information on seed saving, go to the Heritage Seed Library.

Connect with your local Master Gardener.

Read the lastest case studies of food-growing across Norfolk.

Annuals and biennials – the key to knowing when seed will be available for collecting.


Weeding out the rogue carrots, selecting for best variety.

One Response to “Norfolk inbreeders, outbreeders & rogues!”

  1. Gabbie Joyce says:

    Most enjoyable course at a very good venue. Plenty to think about, and the chance to join the HSL which will be taken up!!

    From Steve


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