Seed bank is a place where seeds are stored in order to preserve genetic diversity. Seeds may be viable for hundreds and even thousands of years. Seed banks are like seed libraries that contain valuable information about evolution strategies of plants.
The Royal Botanical Gardens located in Kolkatta first started collecting seeds formally as seed bank. Seed banks were created to store native varieties of seeds. With this initiative farmers have started preserving indigenous seeds and reducing their dependence on hybrid seeds from seed companies. The simple and healthiest method of seed storage is in the air tight earthen pots. Navadanya Seed Bank, a nongovernmental organization located in New Delhi conserve around 50,000 crop varieties, with the primary focus on preservation of grain species.
Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden located in Kolkatta was earlier called Royal Botanic Garden. This garden exhibits a wide variety of rare plants and a total collection of over 12,000 specimens. The area of this garden spreads over 109 hectares.
Seed balls are a mixture of soil, compost and plant seeds. These balls are thrown into land areas. With the monsoon set in, these planted seed balls will germinate into seedling. Making seed ball is a step towards conserving the natural ecosystems.
Seed balls are prepared by non-government organization and enthusiastic school children to grow tree for ecosystem restoration. The concept of seed ball has potential to increase tree cover and also to improve the awareness among the people about conserving plants.
Take some seeds of the fruits you eat and mix it with compost. Add some clay with them and roll them into small balls. Allow them to dry under the sun for two or three days. Take these balls and drop them in dry and arid areas. This will help new plants to grow. You can throw those balls while you are travelling. This will help grow plants in areas where there is no plant cover.
An heirloom seed is the seed of plant that has been carefully cultivated and passed down through many generations. Heirlooms are usually planted in small, isolated communities and they generally offer something of value to the grower. Heirloom seeds are also called organic seeds. These seeds are generally produced from open-pollinated plants and they transfer their unique characteristics to the descendants. Heirloom seed are harvested, dried and stored so that one can replant them in the following season.
The goal of preserving heirloom seed is to prevent any type of change due to outside influence. Most vegetable and flower varieties must be kept protected or isolated from other similar varieties during flowering to avoid cross pollinating plants and mixing their genes. Some vegetable varieties are self-pollinated and are grown with virtually no danger of crossing. Synthetic fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides are not used for organic seeds but conventional fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides are used.