Student sieving soil onto newly sown seed tray.

Conservation of endangered plants

A group of young volunteer students from Downpatrick visited True Harvest Seeds last Friday. They came to help us and our partners Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership continue important conservation of endangered plants. Together we are helping save two coastal plants, Sea Kale – Crambe maritima and Oyster plant – Mertensia maritima.
Out last autumn on special expeditions we scientifically made the seed collections from local sites with special permission from land owners. Assent to work on the protected “Vegetative shingle” sites was given by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and special wildlife license to work with the endangered plants was granted by the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
The volunteers are students embarking on their horticultural careers by studying NVQ Horticulture 1. Warm and out of the rain, we sowed seeds from 35 individual plants of these endangered species into separate seed trays. The students learnt how to select and mix compost, check seeds for viability, sow, label and water. Impressively the students showed a flair for the work as well as interest and enthusiasm, much enjoyed by all.

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