Plant population size. I have to admit, I never thought about it. I figured, if you want to save seed from your heirloom plants, you just save the seed. I never thought about having a minimum number of plants within a cultivar in your garden in order to have a sufficient gene pool to continue growing healthy plants. Who knew? Well, Seed Savers Exchange knows, and they want to share that information with us. [Above photo credit: www.seedsavers.org]
If you think about it, it makes sense. A more varied gene pool increases the likelihood of growing strong plants from the seed you save. Whenever a gene pool becomes restricted – whether in plants, animals, or even humans – diseases and weaknesses increase with each generation. Called inbreeding depression, it is “the reduced fitness in a given population as a result of breeding of related individuals” (Wikipedia).
Intrigued? Want to learn more? Join me in registering for the Seed Savers webinar, “Population Size,” to be held Tuesday, June 25, 2013, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Please register soon! Spots are limited.