Local horticultural expert Paul Richens gave us a presentation on seed saving and propagation on Thursday 13th June in the upstairs room at the Harvester. Paul is a passionate urban gardener who has been growing fruit and veg in London for over 40 years. His company Blue Dome Synergies provides a range of services aimed at urban organic farmers and organisations interested in promoting and implementing urban agriculture and self-sufficiency.

Paul’s illustrated talk was fascinating and wide-ranging. We learned about different types of seed and their life-cycles and the importance of saving your own seeds from your best plants to ensure a healthy biodiversity and to preserve heritage varieties. Seeds from plants that have proved successful in your plot are the ones to save, as they clearly like the conditions. F1 seeds are bred to give you a bumper crop in the first year, but that yield swiftly declines, so these are not seeds to save. Useful tips included putting seed in a bag in the freezer for 10 minutes before storing to kill off unwanted bugs. There were interesting slides on the nutritional superiority of organically vs conventionally grown veg and the likely germination times for different seeds according to temperature.
We’d like to thank Paul for his expertise, and he may be back with us in the Autumn for a session on tree pruning.