Seeds of Diversity


Today some interesting mail arrived for a change — which means, it was neither junk nor a bill. It was my membership package for Seeds of Diversity, a non-profit group made up of gardeners who save and trade heritage or endangered varieties of of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Inside was a thick catalogue called the “Seed Exchange Directory”, listing member contact information and the varieties of seed each member has available. All you have to do is send someone who has the seeds you want a self-addressed envelope and $1 for each type of seed. Some member will even accept Canadian Tire money. The deal is that you have to save some of the seeds from your own harvest, and offer them in the directory next year.

Knowing this, I spent $8 for another booklet, also enclosed, entitled “How to Save Your Own Vegetable Seeds”. It may sound straightforward in principle to save seed, but I’ve never actually tried to collect it from carrot or lettuce or spinach. I don’t think I even know what the flowers look like!! Actually, the booklet is quite interesting. It shows you how to pollinate your own vegetables, and how to prevent accidental cross-pollination so that you can keep the varieties pure. Of course, I don’t suppose I’ll have any accidental cross-pollination of vegetables on my second storey deck in the middle of downtown Toronto. Unless an intrepid bumblebee makes the trek straight from the community garden in High Park to my door. Doubt it. Even I can’t make that trip without stopping to smell the flowers a couple of times along the way.

In keeping with my active fantasy life (or more optimistically, to prepare me for the future), I also ordered (and received) a booklet called “Selling Heritage Crops”. You never know….maybe I could set up a fruit and vegetable stand in front of the movie theatre next door.

The January 2003 edition of the Seeds of Diversity magazine was also enclosed. Plenty of reading material for a warm Saturday afternoon on the deck, while I wait for my seeds to grow.