2,657 'New' Vegetable Varieties

The sixth edition of Seed Savers Exchange’s Garden Seed Inventory reintroduces 2,657 vegetable varieties.

| October/November 2005

Seed Varieties

The sixth edition of Seed Savers Exchange’s “Garden Seed Inventory” lists 274 mail-order seed companies in the United States and Canada.

Photo courtesy Seed Savers Exchange

Seed Savers Exchange (SSE), the Decorah, Iowa-based nonprofit group that works to preserve heirloom vegetable and fruit varieties, has released the sixth edition of its Garden Seed Inventory.

The 504-page catalog describes more than 8,400 nonhybrid vegetables and lists 274 mail-order seed companies in the United States and Canada.

“Gardeners should be pleased to learn that 2,657 varieties have been reintroduced within the past six years, but these gains are extremely fragile and could be wiped out by the loss of just a few companies,” says Kent Whealy, executive director of SSE. “These substantial gains are the result of outstanding efforts by a few remarkable companies.”

To help these new companies survive and support this promising trend, gardeners should patronize them, Whealy says.

It took the SSE staff two years to complete the sixth edition of the Garden Seed Inventory — normally it takes one year — due to the large number of companies now selling seeds online. Whealy says it is encouraging to see so many new companies emerge.

“The continual decline of traditional varieties is mainly caused by consolidation within the mail-order garden seed industry,” he says. “The only thing currently offsetting those losses is the vast number of heirloom varieties currently being offered for the first time by new companies.”

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