To develop and then ripen, a plant of fruit or vegetable needs nutritious elements, substrate, water, but also and above all a seed. This is where it all begins ! What are the different types of vegetable seeds? How is the selection made? What are the regulations? Solène Voltz, international trade manager at Voltz marketchage, enlightens us.
Vegetable seeds, a flourishing market
A definition of seeds
Seeds designate plant seeds or reproductive organs (tubers, rhizomes or bulbs). The term "seed" therefore concerns both vegetables and flowers, trees and fruit trees.
Seeds for horticulture, market gardening, agriculture, for professionals and amateur gardeners ... France is the leading seed consumption market in Europe, but also the world leader in exports.
Free vegetable seeds vs hybrid
We sometimes hear about “free” or “op” seeds, for “Open Pollinated”. This term refers to varieties with free pollination: their seeds can happen to infinity and be produced by all, since they are in the public domain. These so -called “fixed” varieties, often old, are mostly used by individuals. They have never suffered a cross. They generally interest professionals less because they are not very resistant. Market gardeners marketing their short circuit products nevertheless use these varieties which have the advantage of being very taste.
In contrast, we find the Hybrid seeds F1. “These seeds constitute the majority of seeds marketed by seeders. Years of research are necessary to create these new varieties ” explains Solène Voltz. The hybrid varieties are the fruit of the crossing between two parents selected according to their particular characteristics: taste, shape, color, yield, etc. They are not sterile, but their seed cannot be reproduced identically. They are sometimes subject to property protection deposited by the variety obtaining. For example, a sweet, but small melon will be crossed with another interesting, but not very tasty size. This crossing will give a good size melon, well sweet.
|Be careful not to confuse hybrid and GMO varieties. In the case of GMO seeds, work is done on the seed gene to improve its performance. As a reminder, this practice is prohibited in Europe. A hybrid is a plant obtained by sexual reproduction between two parents of different species or varieties. It is the normal process of creating a new variety that is done naturally or, here, with the help of man.
Conventional or biological seeds
In conventional and biological, the varieties are the same. What changes is the treatment of seeds. The conventional seeds treated are generally surrounded by flash blue coating. The treatment suffered to protect the germ in the first stages of culture. In the case of untreated conventional seeds, the plant bearing the seed can be treated, but the seed has not undergone chemical treatment after harvest.
Biological seeds are subject to certifying organism control like Ecocert. “These very strict seed quality standards are the same as for organic producers. They constitute a guarantee for the buyer ” Expresses Solène. By official derogation, an organic seed can nevertheless come from an untreated conventional seed, if it does not exist in organic.
The role of the seed
Drastic selection criteria
Semenckers like Voltz market gardening select and market seeds worldwide. The seeds are chosen according to the customer's need and how to cultivate. Should they resist cold? To certain specific diseases? Offer a good performance? Be cultivated in greenhouse? Be transported? “We must carry out many tests and research to find the seed that corresponds to each typology of culture. Climate, sunshine, rain, diseases, drought, all these elements are taken into account to offer ideal vegetable seeds ” Indicates Solène.
To illustrate it, she takes the example of the tomato: "Where professional market gardeners prefer a variety of tomatoes that holds well on the cluster, with very specific calibration, individuals will promote a tasty variety, even if it is more fragile."
|Voltz market gardening is one of the first European distributors independent of seeds and plants for professionals. With more than 2,000 varieties of seeds, including 600 in organic, the offer of the seed enclosure brings together varieties combining taste quality, robustness, productivity and originality.
Vegetable seeds in vertical agriculture
In recent years already, Voltz market gardening has been interested in the vertical farms market. “We have created a special unit for indoor and infarm culture. We have more and more requests on this market and we want to be reactive in the face of the challenges raised by this form ofurban agriculture.” Voltz Vertical Farming works with several players in the interior vegetable garden to offer them ranges of vegetable seeds that are both profitable and adapted to culture in a closed environment.
"On this model, it is not a question of providing a substantial return. We favor flavors, aspect and the guarantee of culture. With, as objective, consumer satisfaction who can cultivate in him a sufficient quantity for his personal consumption of fruits, vegetables and aromatic herbs. ” Compared to seeds purchased in garden center, seeds of seeds are controlled and guarantee purity in terms of genetics, or the absence of land or adventitious. The selection being more meticulous, the germination rate is also higher.
The seed, founding element of the vegetable garden liv
Voltz Vertical Farming has for example selected for Urban Cuisine a variety of sufficiently productive cherry tomatoes which reacts well to artificial light. “She had to have a taste, react well to the substrate chosen for the vegetable garden, and be certified organic” Expresses Solène. For the seed, this type of project is very innovative and constitutes a real challenge. “Each variety has its own characteristics that it is more or less easy to adapt to the interior vegetable patch. For example, we avoid the basil of full field, too bushy! It is also necessary to take into account the duration of culture and the weight of the plant. ”
At the end of this tailor -made selection, each of these seeds was tested in the Horticoles laboratories of Urban Cuisine. "" "They must confront the substrate, the spectrum, the irrigation or the nutrients. Our work is to reduce the number of seeds to optimize this test phase ” underlines Solène.
Urban Kitchen vegetable gardens, a model of sustainable equipment
At Urban Cuisine, we continue to work with our seed enclosure and then experiment with the seeds selected in the cultivation conditions of our interior vegetable gardens. And to offer you the highest quality varieties, elected for their capacities and flavors!