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Coast-to-Coast Seed Saving Sharing the beauty of heirlooms

Though most of us don’t save seeds, we can still benefit from the dedicated heirloom seed savers across the country who are passionate about the preservation of a healthy and diverse seed bank. Meet three of these dedicated seed savers.

Late winter days are perfect for dreaming up new projects, and planning next year’s garden is no exception. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or you’re new to gardening, the first step is to sit down with a selection of seed catalogues and start to bring future harvests to life.

It all starts with seeds

It used to be common practice for households to save their seeds in the fall for future planting. This ensured the preservation of well-adapted heirloom varieties, and maintained a healthy and diverse seed bank throughout Canadian communities and around the world.

So what happened?

Most of us don’t save seeds anymore, and instead rely on ordering them through commercial seed suppliers. It’s more convenient and time saving, but it comes with a cost. According to Seeds of Diversity (a nonprofit Canadian organization committed to maintaining heirloom and endangered varieties of Canadian crops), our wealth of plant variety is disappearing, and fast. It is estimated that 75 percent of global food biodiversity has become extinct in the last century.

What is seed saving?

The practice of seed saving involves letting plants go through their natural cycle and reach maturity, rather than harvesting their flower or fruit. Lettuces grow into tall, flowering stalks. And an added bonus: “You’ll get lots of yummy self-seeded weeds!” laughs Patrice Fortier of La Société des Plantes, in Kamouraska, Quebec.

How you can get started

Become a member of Seeds of Diversity and participate in their local Seedy Saturday events. Find the nearest Seedy Saturday event as well as an index of Canadian heirloom seed producers that you can order from at seeds.ca.

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