Many farmers have been buying seeds that fail to germinate for many reasons. By the time a farmer realises the seeds are not germinating, the planting season is over.
Seeds are normally affected by harsh weather conditions, insects and diseases which affect production and reduce household incomes.
However, this problem can be solved by conducting trial germination using trial gardens before the seeds are introduced on the market.
What is a trial garden?
A trail garden is a small piece of land normally within the compound or backyard specifically for testing seeds to check whether or not they can germinate and adapt to prevailing climatic conditions.
Performance of each plant in the trial garden is evaluated twice a week.
The aim of trial gardens is to test newly developed varieties of seeds in the industry and observing them throughout their life cycle from germination through maturity that is from seed to harvest.
When they fail to germinate, a research is carried out to investigate why and if possible discard it and that already on the market is recalled.
It is at this stage that a trader can understand which disease and pests attack certain plants and what is the ready, so that when a seed is being promoted on the market, treatment for such diseases and pests is also available.
By growing new varieties side-by-side with existing ones, researchers can determine whether or not these new varieties are better.
In the trial garden, that is when the seed company can test for disease and insect resistance and tolerance to changes in conditions.