On your mark, get set, sow!
Whether you received tomato seeds from us, or you are participating in the Citizen Seed Trial with your own seeds or seedlings, this page contains everything you need to know to participate.
The 2019 program will again be with tomatoes but will focus on adaptation across different climates. The trial will consist on of one tomato variety sourced from 4 different seed companies across North America (including BC) to observe and document differences in the plants from different regions. This is an effort to help us better understand regional adaptation in crops. This will be a blind trial – meaning you won’t know which variety is which until the end!
To stay up to date and check out what fellow participants have been up to join the Citizen Seed Trial Facebook group. New this year, the FB group allows everyone involved to share results, post photos and ask questions.
To be announced…
1. Plant your seeds
Start seeds indoors mid-March to early April, preferably with bottom heat. Sow seeds 5mm-1cm (¼-½”) deep. Count and record the number of seeds you plant – planting 4-6 seeds from each variety is recommended.
2. Evaluate germination
Your first evaluation will be a germination count. For each variety count the number of seedlings that have come up and divide by the number of seeds planted. Record the germination rate. Has one variety performed better or worse than the others?
Share your results by filling out the online germination survey. And see real time results here.
3. Grow the seedlings
Keep seedlings under very bright light to prevent legginess. Grow seedlings for 6-8 weeks.
Transplant when night time lows are 10°C or warmer. Days to maturity are from transplant date. Tomatoes like fertile, well-drained soil high in organic matter, full sun & heat.
5. Evaluate early plant health
Two weeks after transplant evaluate the rate of growth and look for signs of disease.
You can complete your evaluation online.
6. Evaluate the fruit
Six weeks after transplant all of the varieties should be producing tomatoes. Now you can taste the tomatoes and look again at the health of the plants and for signs of disease. You will want to save seed from some of the early maturing fruits.
7. Late season evaluation
As the season progresses how is the fruit tasting? Are some plants producing more abundantly than others? Is blight or other disease affecting the plants?
8. Choose your favourite & save more seed
- Citizen Seed Trial Facebook group
- How-to-grow tomatoes guide from Westcoast Seeds
- Seed saving basics from Seeds of Diversity
2018 Citizen Seed Trial Email Archive
To get a sense of what to expect this year, take a look at the emails from last year below!