The next time you buy tomato seeds to plant in your garden, that variety may have been tested by students at Delaware Valley University in Doylestown.
The school entered into a new partnership with Warminster-based W. Altee Burpee Co. to conduct a series of field trials of new seed hybrids with the university’s horticulture students on university grounds.
The international seed seller will be working with the university to test a number of vegetable and flower seeds to determine which will be released to the public.
Chris Tipping, Delaware Valley University interim dean of agriculture and environmental sciences, said it’s an opportunity for students to learn how Burpee selects and tests varieties of plants.
“The process involves lots of breeding and lots of looking at them, and the process takes several years to narrow down the traits and varieties they want to offer the public,” Tipping said.
He said Burpee looks at such things as the speed of growth, the number of fruits a plant produces and the size and color.
The agreement calls for four paid internships for DelVal students.
Interns for the program will be selected by the end of March. Plantings are expected to begin in late April. There will be evaluations during the growing season, and the final harvest will be in early fall.