Gardeners get a jump on season with swap meet, seminars
FOR THE GAZETTE
A “seedy” group of people made up of gardeners, farmers, conservationists and related vendors gathered in the gymnasium at PECI on Saturday, Feb. 24, hoping to get a jump on spring.
The ninth annual Seedy Saturday offered the opportunity for people to come and trade or buy seeds for the upcoming planting season, and come they did.
The seed swap table featured free seeds collected from local gardens and also offered the chance for people to bring seeds from their own gardens to share with others. The table did a brisk business as people came to find new varieties of flowers, vegetables and herbs to grow.
The event also included vendors selling seedings, seeds, gardening books and products such as honey, beeswax candles, as well as those offering information on everything from how to grow edible mushrooms to rewilding your property with native trees, shrubs and plants to benefit the environment. The vendors and visitors agreed the place was bursting with ideas and people.
“It’s been busy,” said Karyn Wright, owner of Terra Edibles. “Lots of enthusiasm, young and old.”
Jennifer Wickman of Toronto and Jason Pedracini of Cannifton were among the visitors looking for special items.
“I’m going to pick up some honey,” Wickman said, adding that it was her first visit.
Pedracini was looking for vegetable seeds, and said he likes to do companion planting in which different kinds of plants are mingled together for the benefit of the plants and the beneficial insects such as bees.
David Riley of Picton said he comes to Seedy Saturday every year.
“I love this event!” he said as he sampled a freshly baked corn muffin made by Elis Ziegler from Curious Goat in Milford.
“It’s a great community event, and this year it’s nice to see so many unfamiliar faces.”
Elly Finlayson came all the way from Madoc to represent her Railway Creek Farm, which specializes in growing several different varieties of garlic. She said she finds Seedy Saturdays are a great way to promote her business.
The show also featured three different talks, including one by Bay Woodyard of Honey Pie Hives and Herbals on transforming lawns to suit honey bees. Stacey Hubbs of Edible Antiques talked about how to select, collect and save seeds and planting rare heirloom plants like the ones she grows.
The third talk, by Tim Bakker of Jubilee Forest Farm, located just north of Picton, focused on agroforestry farming, a method in which tree planting, alley cropping (planting crops between rows of trees), raising poultry on pasture and using cattle to heal the land all work together to benefit the farmer, the land and the ecosystem while increasing productivity.
Several gardening and forestry groups also had booths at the event, including Seeds of Diversity, the PEC Community Gardens, the PEC Horticultural Society, the PEC Master Gardeners, Forests Ontario, Tree the Country and the Council of Canadians. The County Sustainability Group offered people the chance to order rain barrels to support the Student Environmental Bursary in Memory of Fred Holtz, a founding member of seedy Saturday in the County.
Seedy Saturdays (and seedy Sundays) are being held in many communities across Canada, including many Ontario locations. For more information, go to www.seeds.ca.