Join us for our fourth year of the Citizen Seed Trial! The Citizen Seed Trial is a complement to the BC Seed Trials, a collaboration between FFCF and the University of British Columbia, that is working with farmers to identify the best performing varieties of important vegetable and seed crops.

We’ve adapted that model for community participation with the aim of bringing growers of all scales into the seed conversation. This is a seed trial that can be done in a small space, with a low time commitment. It is ideal for beginner seed savers and backyard (or balcony) gardeners. The 2017 program focused on lettuce, and 2018 focused on cherry tomatoes – each with 4 varieties to trial and track. 2019 was a tomato adaptation trial, focusing on adaptation across different climates. The trial consisted of one tomato variety sourced from 4 different seed companies across North America (including BC). Participants were walked through planting, care, observations, and data collection via email updates and social media. Later in the season, we shared seed saving information so participants could take their crops from seed-to-seed. For more 2019 trial information, visit the 2019 Adaptation Trial page.

For the 2020 Citizen Seed Trial the focus is on diverse breeding populations. We are trialling watermelon, kale and tomato. Participants will grow 2 varieties of the crop they sign up for, choosing to grow 1, 2 or 3 crops. One variety will be an un-finished breeding variety and will be compared to an established variety (the control).

Trialling a free pollinating (no hand pollinating) cross of 22 varieties grown by Manish Kushwaha of Gaia Organics

Comparing to the Blacktail Mountain short season/ice box variety

Trialling Winter Rainbow Lacinato (Lacinato X Redbor) – Curly edges, red veins, purple leaves, blue-green leaves; cold hardy, reluctance to bolt and productive.

Comparing to Dazzling Blue – This stunning new blue kale comes from Hank Keogh’s inspiration to backcross a ‘Rainbow Lacinato’ variant with its ‘WGS Lacinato’ ancestor. Dazzling blue-green savoyed strap leaf with underturned margins, upright growth, and a striking pink midrib. Eye-catching at the market, and the flavor is “very lacinato.”

Trialling a breeding cross from the Teensy family (Mexico Midget X Summertime Green) which is an intermediate pimp. tiny cherry with a 1 pound green flesh dwarf.

Comparing it to the Soliel Orange Cherry Tomato – intermediate, tangy, sweet and not prone to splitting.


A large focus of the education component this year will be engaging participants in learning about the importance of the selection process, how to select, when to select and what to select for.

Participating in the 2020 Citizen Seed Trial is a great way to learn more about seed growing, indulge your inner scientist and be a part of the growing BC seed community!

As of March 24th 2020, we have closed sign-ups to receive seeds and grow the trial. However, with a large focus on education this year we still encourage sign-ups and these participants can follow along with the trial by observing growing of others, learning through the publications and emails we will share and participate in the webinars on seed growing and breeding we will host.

Sign up below to participate. Please note you will be subscribed to regular Citizen Seed Trial emails as well as our monthly BC Seed Grower newsletter upon registration. You can opt out of either at anytime by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of each email. Also consider joining the Citizen Seed Trial Facebook group to share experiences and ask questions!

Sign Up for the 2020 Citizen Seed Trial

Please note sign ups received after March 24th 2020 will be signed up to follow along with the trial, attend webinars and learn from the trial. These sign ups will not receive seed to grow. Please join the Citizen Seed Trial group on Facebook and sign up for 2021 in January and February.



Carol Stewart · January 23, 2018 at 12:35 pm

We plan to run the trial in our community garden collaborative plot.

Denise Lagasse · January 24, 2020 at 12:07 pm

We are preparing for Seedy Saturday and we will be discussing if this could be part of the Seed Exchange table., helping to promote this project within our community. Most interested in backyard gardeners, we have lots of homeowners here with good sized yards. Will each participant be expected to grow watermelon, kale and tomatoes? I am just trying at this point to get more information for our group planning meeting. Thank you.

Simon A · February 1, 2020 at 12:52 pm

Really enjoyed being a part of this last year, and told as many friends as I could to try to do this year’s seed trial! Can’t wait!

Carla Hick · March 7, 2020 at 10:56 am

Hi There,

For the 2020 trial, people will be able to choose watermelon, tomato or kale. They don’t have to do all 3 but can if they would like. Denise if you need any further information please feel free to contact me at Did we get you a package for your seedy saturday event (electronic or by mail)? Please be in touch and let me know which Seedy Saturday you organize – I don’t believe I have you on our contact list. Thanks!

duana mchugh · April 17, 2020 at 8:14 pm

My kale seeds arrived and I have them started under lights. Planted both varieties Apr 5th ( 15 seeds each)
Winter rainbow BCESC germinated Apr 10 14 sprouts
Dazzling Blue Upr19 germinated Apr 12. 5 sprouts out of 15 seeds!

Denise charters · April 21, 2020 at 10:00 pm

I was planning on planting my seeds community garden, but it hasn’t been turned over…they did bring in the water pipes for watering.
With offices closed I’ll have to make other arrangements, the weather in my area has been is cold.. and more than ever products are low ..
Slim pickings. . .. people are starting gardens here.
Can’t wait though so excited with this year’s seeds

bc seeds · May 27, 2020 at 3:21 pm

Great! Please make sure you are tracking your progress in your SeedLinked account and feel free to share your results in the Citizen Seed Trial facebook group (

bc seeds · May 27, 2020 at 3:22 pm

Great. Happy the seeds will be well received!

bc seeds · May 27, 2020 at 3:24 pm

Wonderful. Thanks for participating.

bc seeds · May 27, 2020 at 3:27 pm

Thanks again for your interest Denise, and sorry this reply is late. I will email you about the Seedy Saturdays and we can figure something out for 2021.

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