Variety is the Spice of Life at Seedy Saturday
by Nancy Wong
February 8, 2004

(Vancouver, BC) — Garden Giant, Shaggy Mane, Tree Oyster and Golden Oyster are just four of the delicious and interesting varieties of mushroom spawn available this year at the 15th Annual Seedy Saturday, Saturday, February 28th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Floral Hall at VanDusen Botanical Garden. The word ‘ variety’ forms the foundation of Seedy Saturday. Featuring more than 30 growers and exhibitors the day is a celebration of heritage seeds, organic gardening, sustainable agriculture and the joys of growing rare and unusual varieties.

"An increasing segment of the population is very interested in all aspects of environmentally sound gardening; from organic techniques to bio-diversity and water-wise methods. I believe VanDusen’s Seedy Saturday provides one of the best resources for gardeners on the latest seed varieties available as well as it’s a chance to meet the seed producers in person," says Seedy Saturday Co-ordinator volunteer Seed Collector Chair Mary Palmore.

As in past years Seedy Saturday offers presentations by dynamic speakers. Scheduled to appear this year are Tod Major, former director of Park & Tilford Garden on Growing Vegetables and Ornamentals in a Holistic-ecological Layering Program and Patrick Steiner of Stellar Seeds in Sorrento on A Seed-saver’s Journey Through India and Nepal.

Not just about protecting heritage varieties, the event honours the joy of gourmet eating — it’s a fact that fruits, vegetables and herbs that you grow yourself and pick fresh taste better. "Many people, who only a few years ago had only flower gardens and lawns, are now adding small kitchen gardens to their patios and balconies," says Palmore. The home gardener can pick up seeds for unusual heritage vegetables such as Valentine Black snap beans (an heirloom variety first introduced in 1897) or Black Seeded Simpson lettuce (1888) or Bonny Best tomatoes (1908). Budding orchardists will find a good selection of heritage apple trees from Derry Walsh of Aldergrove’s Dwarf Apple Trees. While Bill Chalmers (also from Aldergrove) is bringing the aforementioned mushroom spawn and grow blocks.

Started at VanDusen Botanical Garden in 1989, Seedy Saturday celebrates the bio-diversity of heritage plant varieties along with the benefits of organic growing. The popularity of Seedy Saturday has sprouted more than two dozen offshoots across Canada from the Comox Valley and Galliano Island in British Columbia to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

In addition to including more than 30 exhibitors ( many unveiling "new" old varieties of interest to the home gardener) the event also features organizations such as Seeds of Diversity, VanDusen Seed Collectors, FarmFolk/City Folk and City Farmer..

Seeds of Curiosity, organized by VanDusen’s Education Department will offer interactive displays and seedy science demonstrations sure to intrigue the whole family and VanDusen’s Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about plant and garden care.

Other popular highlights include the Heritage Seed Swap — bring your labelled packets of viable heritage seeds to add to the swap table in exchange for those you take — and the Great Bean Count — enter your best guess to win a prize. Nyala Ethiopian Restaurant will again be providing tasty snacks, hot lunches and beverages.

Admission to Seedy Saturday is by donation. Proceeds go to support the national organization Seeds of Diversity and VanDusen Botanical Garden. For more information on Seedy Saturday the public is invited to visit the Seed Collectors' website at For more information on VanDusen and its other events, the public is invited to visit our web site at

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