I hope that you are in a position to make the most of week two of lockdown. I must admit that I spent a considerable amount of time in the garden last weekend.
For those of you who follow what is happening in the region, you would recall that last year we held a successful seed collection workshop with Mikla Lewis in Parkes.
The focus of this workshop was identification of local species and understanding the right time to collect seed in our local area.
One of the guidelines that we use for seed collection is produced by the Florabank Consortium Australia. The Florabank Guidelines are the best practice guidelines for native seed collection and use and the revised version has been released.
The initial guidelines were published in 1999 and was funded by the Commonwealth Government Natural Heritage Trust Bushcare program.
As we know….we learn a lot in 20 years and there was need for the guidelines to be updated. In 2019, through the NSW Government Environment Trust the Healthy Seeds Project was initiated and this included revision of the original document.
The Guidelines are separated into modules that can be easily accessed on the Florabank website. They follow each aspect of the seed supply chain: seed sourcing to collection; production areas; processing cleaning and extraction; drying and storage; quality testing; germination and dormancy; enhancement technologies; nursery propagation; and direct seeding.
Modules on indigenous knowledge, records and databases, policy and licensing, and tips for buying and selling seed support each step in the supply chain.
The Guidelines were an essential part of our training in the Seed Collection course and I would recommend having a read.
Many people don’t realise the hard work that often goes behind propagation and plant establishment. Seed collection alone in Australia quite often involves heading out in the depth of Summer to collect seed from many different plants. Collection needs to be recorded, the seed needs to be processed and cleaned ready for appropriate storage away from insects and rodents.
Collection of seed in the wild generally requires licences and permission. Over-collection can impact existing populations and genetic diversity, which is one of the reasons why these guidelines are so important to maintaining sustainable and lawful processes when collecting and propagating.
The link to the Florabank guidelines can be found here.