The Seduction of Seeds
Seedy Saturday is coming up!
The Seduction of Seeds
To follow Isabel’s column last month and her list of Canadian seed companies, I wish to seduce you a little closer to home…Seedy Saturday is coming up in downtown Victoria Saturday February 16th at the Conference Center at 720 Douglas street. It is a full day of yes sellers; also exhibitions, displays, demos and lectures. The hours for this one day affair are 10am-4pm and admission is $7 at the door with no charge for small green-thumbers under 12. New gardeners will be in awe of all the growing possibilities and all the knowledge at hand: experienced gardeners bring some of YOUR best saved seed for the seed exchange table… This is a perfect overlap for gardeners of all ages with the romance of Valentine’s in February, our love of gardening here and not fattening! Sadly, even in Victoria’s “tropical” climate of Canada, we cannot grow “Theobroma beans”, aka chocolate…
Seedy Saturday is in its 11th year, originating in 1992, now locally hosted by the James Bay Market. You can contact Pat McGuire at firstname.lastname@example.org (Call 250-385-0485)…“Seeds.ca” or “Seeds of Diversity” lists all the local Seedy Saturday dates for the island, BC, even across Canada.
Closer to home, please support “Two Wings Farm” circa 1986;run by Marti and Bernie Martinwood email@example.com (Call 250-478-3794 after March 1st). Due to health issues they are on a well deserved sabbatical, will miss this years Seedy Saturday, and thanks to fans unshakable support, will continue to fill seed orders on their return. I know one of their favourite tomatoes is “Alisa Craig”, originally from England around 1925, happily adapted to Metchosin for over 25 years!
“Metchosin Farm”, circa 2004; is in its 9th year, run by Fiona Hamersley-Chambers and a tribe of WOOFFERS. Her farm stand is open April to June in high season with veggie starts and soft fruits. Her newest offering is a garden huckleberry called “Sunberry”. Check for her summer specials firstname.lastname@example.org (Call 250-727-6111). Her seeds are found at Cannor Nursery, Blenkinsop Gardenworks and Art Knapps. She will be at this years Victoria Seedy Saturday.
“Full Circle Seeds” is run by Mary Alice Johnson and her farm partner Marika Nagasaki from ALM Farm in Sooke; circa 1993…Mary Alice’s first temptation was shelling beautiful coloured Scarlet Runner beans. This year I must try their “Potimarron” winter Squash; pumpkin coloured and shaped like a giant chestnut! Check out Mary Alice’s farm webpage at www.almfarms.org. If you miss her in Victoria, Sooke has its own 4th annual seedy Saturday the week after Victoria’s on Saturday Feb 23rd Contact: Jessica email@example.com
Look for “Rebecca’s Garden Seeds”, another dedicated Sooke grower, at quite a few of the island’s Seedy Saturday events. Rebecca John’s contact is... firstname.lastname@example.org. She saves all open pollinated and heritage varieties…Look for her fabulous pepper seeds which give us watery/cool weather Victorians real success with peppers!
“Seeds of Victoria” with Carolyn Herriot is where Seedy Saturdays all began in 1992. She was directly inspired by the Seed pioneer herself Mary Ballon of Vancouver bringing in Steve Soloman’s “Territorial seeds” from Oregon…seeds selected for the Pacific Northwet! Mary morphed from a franchise outlet for “Territorial Seeds” to the original owner of “West Coast Seeds”. www.westcoastseeds.com You will find a paper catalogue for West Coast seeds at major nurseries: generously no charge and practically a book in itself of how-to grow all your veggies!
Another seed pioneer was Dan Jason, the “Bean man” of Salt Spring Island… www.saltspringseeds.com. Dan has his own land now, after years of renting, to fill his passion to grow and lectures all over.
Carolyn’s “Seeds of Victoria” top three temptations this year are “Ruby Streaks” Mizuna, the most prolific “Supersnap” peas I’ve seen and the one that tempts me…a true black tomato called “Indigo Rose”! Check out Carolyn’s web page www.earthfuture.com/gardenpath or contact email@example.com Carolyn has recently released a cookbook “The Zero mile Cookbook… Seasonal Recipes for Delicious Homegrown Food” ISBN-13: 9781550175677
It is amazing to see the directions all these dedicated growers have “grown” into and how they have invited all of us along for the ride with a handful of magic seeds!
I have two words of wisdom for you this month, no make that four!
First word associations…Deer…Fence. You do not need to fence your whole yard like a stockade against Bambi but I do recommend a fenced area to play in as vegetables are even more irresistible than Roses to our growing local deer population. There are some very inventive and beautiful fencing options; you will wonder why you waited so long to invest in this solution and peace of mind… Oh and that lovely smelling Rose, grow it inside your fenced area to add the edible petals to salads, cookies or teas!
Secondly, do try container gardening for even a simple salad garden or herbs near your kitchen door. Yes, there are lovely cedar boxes and ceramic pots that do add to the price of your project OR save your money for good soil and amendments for actually growing especially your veggies, and be creative re-using all manner of “containers” to grow in. Do drill adequate drainage holes, place in good light and build your soil to be fertile with good drainage and a minimum of a foot deep... These are all elements in a recipe for success for your growing containers, even before you buy your seeds.
Thirdly, “Integrity Sales”; on Keating Cross Road (Call 250-544-2072), does soil tests. This gives you the base line science of your “in ground” home garden, to help balance and guide the amendments you use for a healthy patch of soil as you begin in your open yard…If your yard is totally unsuited to growing anything: be a regular shopper at the many markets and support a local grower. Or sign up for a brown box program of weekly veggies for farm pick-up or deliveries straight to your door.
Lastly, keep in mind when you choose open pollinated varieties it allows YOU to be your next best seed saving friend! All the websites of seed companies now post supportive how-to articles, even videos, to help you learn as you grow. Teach a child; don’t eat all the beans and we can plant some saved dried beans for next years dinners…A close girl friend from California brought me a cob of Mayan black corn to hang in my kitchen as a sign I could always feed my family another season. On a whim, four or five years later; I twisted the kernels off and set them in a bowl of water on the counter. They all sprouted in 4 days! They grew 8 and 9 feet tall in my garden and threw a veritable rainbow of kernel colours. It was like unwrapping a Christmas present to see what colours were inside…the silk tassels alone ranged from purple black, through pink to a pale honey gold…truly the magic and seduction of seeds.
News Flash…Seedy Saturday Speakers, 2013 10:15
Building the Soil Dwight Pennell, Integrity Sales & Distributors
How do you choose the right fertilizers to assist in building soil fertility? Learn what you need to know about soil testing and why it relates to achieving a productive garden. Dwight is the owner of Integrity Sales & Distributors. Phone: 250.544.2072
Originally published in the February 2013 edition of the Metchosin Muse