Now heirloom seeds are under threat from EU regulations

While the demand for “heirloom” seeds has nearly doubled lately, The Organic Gardening Catalogue’s managing director has warned that proposed EU Plant Reproductive Materials Regulation can make it too expensive for firms to register seeds.

Michael Hedges claims this is able to therefore make it against EU law to even share home-saved seeds with friends.

And Mr Hedges says the proposed European rules would threaten the existence of many historic and favourite garden seed varieties.

“In many cases it might not be economic to register them, making it illegal to sell them or maybe share home saved seed with friends,” he says.

“Biodiversity will suffer consequently, and the eu seed market will be controlled by a handful of enormous seed companies.”

He adds: “This regulation is ill conceived and desires to be resisted.”

Demand for heirloom seeds have been increasing because the Grow Your individual boom because gardeners are trying to find vegetables with more flavour than mass-produced supermarket varieties.

Record numbers are growing their very own tomatoes, as an example, some choosing varieties that originate from before World War One.

The Organic Gardening Catalogue, which have been supplying seeds to organic gardeners for fifty years, records that sales of tomato seeds were up 40 per cent inside the 2013 season.

Some of the most well liked tomato varieties driving demand include the Harbinger, introduced in 1910, Golden Sunrise, which dates back to 1896, and Ailsa Craig, from 1925.

“Tomatoes remain essentially the most widely grown crop for home growers within the UK, and there’s been a distinct trend towards finding a more in-depth taste,” says Mr Hedges.

“We’re seeing a rise in interest within the old varieties, supreme to home garden growing, and customarily characterised by thinner skins, rich flavour and a protracted harvest and ripening period.

“It can be hard to locate anything like these within the supermarket.”

Mr Hedges also says that the increased demand for these older forms of British seeds was driven by fears over future restrictions introduced by EU rules.

“The proposed EU Plant Reproductive Materials Regulation threatens the existence of many historic and favourite garden seed varieties,” he says.