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Organic Vine and Seed Production and Marketing


Project Leader: Daniel G. Hobbs, Gabacho Farm, Avondale, CO

Technical Advisor: Mike Bartolo, Vegetable Crops Specialist, Rocky Ford, CO

Project Year: 2005


Project Summary

Preliminary research indicates that there is a fairly significant national, regional, and local shortage of certified organic vegetable seeds. The objective of this research is to make certified organic seeds available for local growers at a larger scale. The expansion research will be done using squash, melons, garlic, leeks, onions, and carrots. The project will have six significant areas of work: research, training, grow-outs, facility construction, marketing, and outreach.


The first area of expansion in this project was to research biennial seed and vine crop production. Through research, a vine thresher was located and it was researched how to operate it. This was a necessary first step, since without this piece of equipment, the processing of some seeds- especially the cucurbit seeds- was very labor intensive.

A significant amount happened during this past season in the way of growing out. A contract was made with Seeds of Change, an organic seed company, for Navajo melon and Waltham butternut squash seeds. There was also dialogue initiated with other seed producers regarding the possiblity of collaborating on seed threshing, cleaning, and marketing. At this time, a formal proposal has been developed for a group of four founding producers and a seed company to develop an organization devoted to regional organic seed production, research, and education.

Another goal of this project was facility contruction. During this season, a shade structure was built for the purpose of housing the seed thresher and seed cleaning screens.

A website was created to market seeds, complementing larger wholesale contracts. The seeds will also be brought to farmers' markets for retail in the upcoming seasons.

The details of this project will be shared with the community in many ways including farmer to farmer for exchange of information, the website, and an article will be published in a regional agricultural publication.

Due to the success of this project, 65% of total production on the farm in 2006 will be devoted to seed production, instead of the 30% in previous years.


Colorado State University College of Agricultural Sciences Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture