“Plant Breeding for Home Gardeners” is the featured PowerPoint program at the monthly meeting of the Trevose Horticultural Society on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. at the Bensalem Senior Center, 1850 Byberry Road in Bensalem.
Guest speaker Dr. Sarah Dohle will explain the Participatory Plant Breeding program that she introduced to the plant science department at Delaware Valley University in 2018. The objective promotes sustainable agriculture with a focus on biodiversity and improving soil health. By educating community gardeners on traditional breeding methods, they can grow locally-adapted varieties with great taste. If gardeners are already saving seeds from favorite plants, they’re halfway there.
The breeding program is a great way to get students interested in learning about genetics, horticulture and biodiversity while developing new, delicious things to eat. The last two summers, the program collaborated with Penn State master gardeners for the Grow.Save.Repeat initiative to use their demonstration gardens as educational breeding locations.
Dohle grew up in Montgomery County and earned her Ph.D. at the University of California Davis. She currently teaches forage and crop production classes, seed science and crop evolution. She is a regular faculty mentor for undergraduate research projects focusing on conventional plant breeding and genetic diversity. Previously, Dohle worked on projects at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico in high vitamin A corn, and at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Columbia studying bean diversity.
All meetings are open to the public; a donation of $5 is requested from non-members. Visit trevosegardeners.org or call 856-866-9163 for more information.