Sowing Seeds of Diversity

Local grower from Coombs part of national network with decades of history

Dale Crossley shows off a packet of heritage seeds.

Dale Crossley calls herself a Tomato-a-holic. She just can’t get enough of them.

It’s not quantity she’s after really though, it’s variety — a variety you just can’t get from a store.

That’s one of the reasons the Coombs resident is a member of a cross-Canada network of gardeners that has banded together for the past 27 years to save heritage seed varieties.

Seeds of Diversity, she said, enlists people growing heritage varieties of plants in a common pool, allowing them to experiment with, for instance, some of the more than 200 varieties of tomatoes that can be grown in this country.

It’s not just tomatoes of course. The Seeds of Diversity catalogue that is produced each year contains heritage varieties of just about any edible produce you could imagine.

“We have a huge seed bank, where you can look at the catalogue from member growers all across Canada and if you want a certain type you can order seeds for a two bucks,” she said. The money is just a token.”

Crossley was on hand with a booth promoting her group at the Seedy Saturday event in Qualicum Beach. She was there because she said saving heritage food varieties is important.

“The food doesn’t taste as good as it once did,” she said. “For myself, I like to pick a tomato right out of the greenhouse and I love trying new stuff, the more colour it has the better.”

For more information about Seeds of Diversity, visit

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