You are currently browsing Christine’s articles.

Seedy Saturday is coming up this weekend!

March 13th,  10am to 3 pm

at the Recreation Complex

This year’s seed exchange and garden fair will be bigger and better. We have two rooms for workshops.

Gardening Workshops

  • Plan for your best garden yet!
  • Getting seeds off to a good start
  • Growing berries in Powell River
  • Seed-Saving 101

Community Project Panels

  • Food Security: The 3rd Annual Report
  • Transition Initiatives: Rebuilding Community Resilience
  • Powell River’s Seed Saving Project
  • Time to SALSA (Society for the Achievement of Local Sustainable Agriculture)

Bring your seeds to swap. Bring your gardening magazines and books to swap. Learn about what’s happening in our community. Area groups promoting regional sustainability and economic resilience will have information tables. Learn to sow seeds, learn how to make a seed ball, talk to a worm composter, a beekeeper, a master gardener and others.

If you are new to seed swapping, here’s some tips on how Seedy Saturday works.

How to package seeds

  • Use the packing table near the food area. Envelopes provided!
  • Place ¼ – ½ tsp of small seeds, 12-20 large seeds in an envelope, and seal
  • Label with plant name, year collected, history if known, & any other info.

How to swap seeds

  • Bring seeds to the Check-In table. You’ll get a paper slip with a number of “credits” according to how many seed packets you brought.
  • Choose seed packets (1 credit each),  books and/or magazines from the exchange tables, up to the number of credits you have.
  • Return throughout the day to find new seeds!

How to buy seeds

  • Choose the seeds you want from the exchange tables (max 10 packets)
  • Take them to the Check-In table
  • Pay 50c per packet
  • You can buy books & magazines too.
Advertisements

Last year, the first year of the Seed Saving Project, I chose Ireland Creek Annie beans.  I mainly picked it for the name. I’ve only tried growing beans once in the past and I harvested one bean pod per plant and only five seeds had germinated – not even enough for a meal. It was time to try again.

In 2009, I had much better luck. I harvested enough beans to supply a number of packages for Seedy Saturday as well as a couple of cups to try in recipes. I have to say I am not a dry bean expert and my Ireland Creek Annie creations were not that successful.

Ireland Creek Annie beans are an early and reliable producer. They are supposed to make their own thick sauce when cooked. They are disease resistant and non-staking. All this sounds wonderful but I obviously don’t have the right ideas for cooking them.

I will probably grow some more to see what other recipes I can experiment with but because the idea of Seedy Saturday is to swap seeds, I am planning on swapping them for one of the other dry beans in the Seed Saving Project. I think I’ll try Neabel, a Ukrainian dry bean that grows six feet tall (an advantage in my small garden).

That’s the wonderful thing about Seedy Saturday. If you don’t find the type of bean or pea or whatever that you grew to be suitable for your cooking methods and taste, you can trade it in for another type that also grows well in Powell River.

Beans are easy for seed saving. You leave them on the plant until the pods are dry and brown, then harvest them. The pods are easy to break open for the seeds. The seeds should be dry and hard.

At the Kale Force seed packing party a couple of weeks ago, Ed brought in some Purple Peacock Pole Beans. I couldn’t resist that name and scooped up a few seeds. I discovered that they grow six feet tall, have light purple flowers and dark leaves. The pods are dark purple and turn green when cooked. They should be fun to try. And they will be available at Seedy Saturday if you are intrigued by the name too.

A number of people have inquired about the Seed Saving Project and I thought it would be a good idea to provide everyone with what we feel is the basic goals of the Project. We hope that seed savers will venture beyond the Project scope but we are going to keep the Seed Saving Project focused on the basics to try to encourage more seed saving in Powell River.

The Project is focused on raising the quality as well as the quantity of local vegetable seed.

Objectives:

  • Develop a list of vegetables for seed saving that are suitable to this region.
  • Educate local growers on seed saving techniques.
  • Encourage seed saving locally.
  • Encourage new and experienced gardeners to save seeds.
  • Increase the number of contributors to Seedy Saturday.
  • Provide a stable supply of locally produced seeds.
  • Raise the quality of locally produced seeds.
  • Be open to suggestions about additions to or deletions from the basic list.
  • Become self-supporting in providing seeds to new Project members.
  • Provide a forum for seed savers to ask questions and offer advice.

Seed list considerations:

  • Main groups are:  squashes, beans, peas, beets/chard.
  • Vegetables that are relatively simple to save seeds from.
  • Have a variety of vegetables in each group.