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Sowing the Slovenian way

Without a doubt, the autochthonous and domesticated varieties of vegetables and crops represent a treasure that every country must protect and preserve. Slovenians have always had a feeling for plants and the way they taste, and for selecting the right seeds. Seeds are the gifts of our ancestors. Seeds are proof of their love, respect and knowledge.

Our ancestors nurtured a special relationship with seeds. They protected them as something invaluable. It is important that the seeds we sow are of autochthonous origin, tested, have a high germination capacity, are fertile, reliable and adaptable to the growing conditions in Slovenia and provide the foundation for healthy eating, cultivation and agriculture in general.

  • Infographics: sowing

    Infographics: Irena Kogoj

Autochthonous or home-grown seed types originate from an indigenous variety, are not systematically bred and are cultivated, preserved and propagated in Slovenia.

Domesticated or traditional seed types are otherwise of foreign origin, but are well adjusted to Slovenian production conditions and are maintained and produced in Slovenia.

Old traditional and autochthonous types of vegetables have, through evolution, adapted to our climate and living conditions and have thus developed a distinctive taste as well as strengthened resistance to pests and diseases.

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We Slovenians are grateful for our heritage and traditions, which is why gardening is alive and well. Grandmother's garden is still present in children's memories. This also goes for grandmother's tasty jam and home-grown vegetable and beef soup, which is traditionally served on Sundays. Slovenians are truly fond of gardening, even if only in a small garden in one’s front yard.

A pot of herbs on a windowsill in the kitchen or some basic vegetables planted on one’s balcony in a block of flats can almost be considered a decoration in urban housing. 

In recent years, gardening and healthy eating have become a trend in Slovenia. Fashion and health now go hand in hand.

  • GettyImages 542314240 fotografixx

    Weather means more when you have a garden. Photo: Fotografixx-GettyImages/GulliverFilm&Foto

Slovenians are most keen on planting lettuce

In Slovenia seeds have been systematically collected for 30 years. Since 1988, Semenarna Ljubljana has kept an archived collection of seeds. All samples are tested at the Ptuj Selection Testing Centre.

In Slovenia, there are still numerous domestic varieties that have a local name and are passed on from generation to generation.

Slovenian autochthonous varieties are presented at an open door day organised every year by Semenarna Ljubljana at the Ptuj Selection Testing Centre. All lovers of gardening are invited to attend this event.  

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Semenarna Ljubljana can take pride in receiving 40 samples of autochthonous seeds per year. And as they observe, Slovenians’ favourite vegetables are still lettuce, cabbage and beans.

Semenarna Ljubljana offers 33 autochthonous and domesticated varieties of vegetables, 6 varieties of field crops, among them onions, garlic, beans, carrots, corn salad (lamb's lettuce), peppers, tomatoes, turnips, lettuce, cabbage, oilseed pumpkin, buckwheat, alfalfa and oilseed rape.


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    For parents struggling to find ways to encourage their kids to eat a healthy and balanced diet, gardening can be an important tool.Photo: Kupicoo-GettyImages/GulliverFilm&Foto

Native seeds to also be supplied to kindergartens and schools

With a view to promoting Slovenian agriculture, a campaign entitled Let's Plant Autochthonous Slovenian Seeds has been launched in schools by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food.

This activity is part of a wider project entitled The Traditional Slovenian Breakfast.

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And how did the children garden? After delivering six bags of native seeds to every kindergarten, the children planted the seeds in their gardens or in pots and troughs on windowsills in classrooms.

They observed all the growth stages of planted seeds. In this way, small kids became real biologists and gardeners. When their crops were ready and ripe, they ate them with great pleasure.

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Author: Tanja Glogovčan Belančić

Date: 9. March 2020

Time to read: 3 min