Heritage Seed Library

Common-or-garden varieties of the humble pea, cabbage and tomato may seem unlikely to qualify as endangered, but they feature high on the list at the Heritage Seed Library, a body that safeguards rare or threatened vegetables. ‘Many were once the mainstay of our kitchen gardens, but have been sidelined as the requirements of supermarkets have focused growers only on those vegetable varieties that are uniform in terms of size, shape, yield and harvest times,’ explains Neil Munro, the Library’s manager. ‘As a result, many traditional varieties have gradually disappeared from popular seed catalogues, so we aim to collect, conserve and make these available anew to gardeners.’ Many heirloom varieties have been handed down through families, and the seed sent in to the Library by gardeners throughout the land.

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