Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) and partners of the Tomato Organic Management and Improvement Project (TOMI) announced today two new tools to help growers produce tomato seed using organic practices.
The new Tomato Seed Production Guide, and an accompanying webinar on April 20th, Growing Organic Tomato Seed: A How-To Virtual Training, provide practical information for growers interested in producing high-quality tomato seed for their own farm or to sell commercially. These resources are applicable to growers of all scales.
According to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, tomatoes are the fourth largest organic vegetable crop by sales, demonstrating the popularity of this iconic summer crop. Organic growers are required to use organic seed unless commercially unavailable, which means as demand for organic food grows, so too does the demand for organic seed to help growers meet this regulatory requirement. About half of certified organic tomato growers responding to a recent survey are using all organic seed, according to OSA’s own data.
The tomato seed production guide offers readers a comprehensive resource for growing organic tomato seed from start to finish, beginning with the history of tomatoes, the various types and fruit colors, as well as the lifecycle and biology. The guide outlines climatic requirements and how to select for desired traits, which includes recommendations for isolation distances to maintain genetics and population sizes. The guide also serves as a go-to resource for learning about seed-borne diseases of tomato seed crops, including bacterial, fungal, and viral diseases, and methods for treating them.
In addition to providing guidance on production practices, the guide gives advice on harvesting techniques, cleaning methods, and how to store seed to keep it viable.
The April 20th webinar will take place from 12:00 – 1:00 pm Pacific Time. Participation is free but pre-registration is required at the link below. TOMI partners Laurie McKenzie and Jared Zystro from OSA, and Plant Pathologist Dan Egel from Purdue University, will provide a summary of recommendations in the guide – including tomato biology, climatic requirements, genetic maintenance, disease management, and how to harvest, clean, and store tomato seed – while answering questions from participants.
Webinar: Growing Organic Tomato Seed: A How-to Virtual Training
When: April 20th from 12:00 – 1:00 pm Pacific Time
New publication: Tomato seed production guide
Free download at: https://seedalliance.org/publications/tomato-seed-production-guide/