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On February 23rd the Woodmore Women’s Institute’s Food Safety Initiative, along with Red River Recreation, sponsored a presentation featuring Mandy Botincan of Mandy’s Greenhouse. Twenty six avid gardeners met at Janet and Tim Kroeker’s home near Roseau River to hear Mandy expose the wonders of exciting “old time” vegetables, with many photo’s and some rare seeds for show and tell. She explained that there are close to 26,000 rare seeds in the world collection.

Mandy was coming home.  She grew up near Ridgeville, Manitoba , two miles north of the Canada/US border. Her primary teachers were her parents, who had a mixed farm for many years , and always a huge garden. For a number of years as a young girl, she walked from door to door selling Dominion Vegetable seeds. That’s when her veggie bug really started!!

She resides with her husband on a small mixed farm near Tyndall, Mb where she started a greenhouse business in 1989, selling thousands of heritage vegetable plants and later branching into seed sales. She has managed to acquire and grow over 1600 seed varieties of which she now maintains about 30%. She no longer offers plants but seed sales keep her quite busy.She muses that ” nothing is more exciting than seeing every colour in God’s rainbow growing in one’s garden…from black carrots to tri-coloured, striped tomatoes, to multicoloured blue corn, to white cucumbers , to pink and cream beans that can grow to 12″ long.

She bought a vast collection of these old time vegetable seeds for sale. It will be interesting to hear about the results of these heritage seeds in our local gardens this summer. The participant seed exchange was a popular addition to the evening. The Women’s Institute may plan future exchanges from time to time. Janet Kroeker, the host, gardener and member of Woodmore WI encouraged participants to check out The Seeds of Diversity website and consider becoming a member.


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