Enormous Catalog of Free Heirloom Seeds

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by AnnaS, Jan 4, 2005.

  1. AnnaS

    AnnaS Well-Known Member

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    Here's one of those almost secret government projects, and how to use it to get seeds that are often very rare and not available in any seed catalog, anywhere. Packets are small- but enough to start your own seed saving-but cost is $0.

    This is probably the biggest seed catalog in the world- 7,943 varieties of tomato, 639 kinds of radish- you get the picture.

    You should have a scientific name, if you want to just look at all the corn, or a variety name, if you want to find out if some old seed is really extinct. You can also look under the state of origination for varieties suited to your climate.

    Go to:
    www.ars-grin.gov/npgs/searchgrin.html

    Once there, go to "accession area queries". you can search for your seed in various ways. Once you find some seed that you just have to have, write down the PI number or other identification number and the station where that variety is maintained.

    Now go back to the main GRIN page (above link) and click on "request germplasm" and fill out the request form.

    I'm getting beans, corn, and a squash, all not available in the US (That I can find). Requested the beans on 30 Dec and got them 4 Jan. One of the beans is Blue Coco which is blue and turns green when cooked and is the "best flavored" green bean, according to the USDA testers.
     
  2. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    Very cool site. Thanks for the link.

    My first search I just put in my state. 100 varieties came up for Alabama. I could not find any common names though. I just started clicking. I guess when it talks about silk formation, it's talking about corn. I did find some muskmelons that were developed by Auburn that I'd like to try.

    I'm going to spend more time poking around there.

    Thanks again.
     

  3. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    Ok, I was doing it wrong. At the top of the search page is a simple search. Type in apple. There are pages and pages of apples.
     
  4. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    OMG. This is like the holy grail! :eek:

    Thank you!!!!
     
  5. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    WOW!!! THANKS!!! All of the seeds are not heirloom, but they do tell you which are hybrids. And........ They have bamboo culms!!!! I am SOOO excited! You can't tell, tho, can you?
     
  6. Jan in CO

    Jan in CO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Wow, that's terrific! Thanks so much for posting the link! Jan in Co
     
  7. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    I was directed to the USDA's National Germplasm site, which offers free plant seeds and parts to researchers. How do I get to a part that offers them to regular folks?

    Meg :)
     
  8. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This is the most wonderful website anyone has ever shared! Thank you SOOOOO much!
     
  9. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Meg, their home page indicates part of their mission is to preserve the diversity of the seed stock.

    I could be wrong, but I'd say if you were growing the seeds, and saving seeds from the plants and perhaps sharing them with others, and keeping tabs on what grew and thrived in your location and what didn't, you could rightfully say you were taking part in research.
     
  10. Nan(TX)

    Nan(TX) Well-Known Member

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    Wow they have an animal section but no fowl as of yet. Thanks so much for the link.:worship:

     
  11. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    :haha: :haha:
    That was the first thing I went to also. I imagined some government scientist sending me 25 baby chicks free of charge as part of heirloom research.
     
  12. Nan(TX)

    Nan(TX) Well-Known Member

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    Hey birds of a feather!

    This could be a godsend for back yard hobbits who are trying to save breeds from extinction.
     
  13. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    Yea, I headed to the horse section.

    Frankly I find the site kind of confusing? Maybe it's my mercury and tin toxicity?
     
  14. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    I may be a private individual, but, I keep a database of all the seeds/corms/bulbs/etc that I plant. I like to know where the seed originated, when I planted it, yield, what diseases or pests bothered it, etc, etc... I'm also willing to share seed with others when I have it, save seed to plant next season and not adverse to doing a bit of hand pollinating to see what crosses I come up with. I do believe that qualifies me as a 'volunteer researcher'!:)
     
  15. GRHE

    GRHE Mountain Ogre

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    Anna, thanks for the link. I have heard of the project several times but had never found the site. I will likely spend hours going through the catalog of specimen :eek:. I believe this network was set up and founded in responce to groups like Seed Savers as the offical government outlet and clearing house to help organize those efforts. It is quite humourous though to see groups like the Dept of Ag sponsouring and effort directly opposed to the germplasm monoculture the rest of that organization so readily promotes :haha: .
     
  16. apirlawz

    apirlawz playing in the dirt

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    That's pretty much what I did. I was honest...I said I was a market gardener in southeastern SD interested in heirloom/antique and wild fruits and vegetables. My goals were 1) to test different varieties to see what would thrive in my area, and also to start my own seed supply, and 2) I wanted to give my market customers some insight into the different varieties and tastes that were available to people prior to the more commercialized growing practices used today.

    I ordered seeds, blueberry plants, and a pear tree last night, and got emails this morning telling me when everything would be sent out.

    AnnaS, your are a wonderful person!!! Thank you so much for posting this site! It has a home forever in my favorites! :worship: :worship: :worship:

    April
     
  17. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for posting the website. We ordered cantaloupes so we will see how soon we get them.
     
  18. Sondra Peterson

    Sondra Peterson Well-Known Member

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    Well I guess I am completely stupid I can't get the search (grin) to come up when I click on it. and if I use the other thing and put in anything I get all the botanical names , then if I put in texas the only thing that comes up is cotton or pecans. What am I doing wrong.
     
  19. Nan(TX)

    Nan(TX) Well-Known Member

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    I found it very difficult to navigate too. I also plugged in Texas and received over 800 hits. Most were ground cover crops for cattle. So what I did that helped but was still difficult for me to find things was I opened a new window for Google. I would find the botanical name for say squash and plug that into the search function on the site. I'm hopelessly lost but making good time now. :D
     
  20. sylvar

    sylvar Well-Known Member

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    Holy cow.... Now that kicks butt. Took me a while to figure out how to find what I was looking for, but now I'm in like flynn. Thanks so much!

    Sylvar