Courtenay/Comox Seedy Saturday

By Giovanni Spezzacatena

I attended the Courtenay/Comox Seedy Saturday event this past weekend (March 7, 2009 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Florence Filberg Centre in downtown Courtenay).

Below are some images from that very successful event. What looked like dozens of volunteers and vendors attracted the crowd to this tenth annual Community Seed Exchange & Horticulture Trade Fair. The theme this year was “Grow Your Own Food”. In trying to claw my way through the different stations (see images below of the crowds inside), I repeatedly overheard especially older attendees remark on how strange it was to see so many younger people interested in food gardening. What was remarkable to me was the undertone in this; a mixture of “cool, they’re catching on!” with “oh, we’re really in (economic) trouble if these guys are thinking about growing food”. One senior told me that he had given up on food gardening several years ago, but this year, he dug up his driveway to return to it.

The feature that seemed less prominent at this event was the workshops; one featuring medical herbalist Chanchal Cabrera presenting “Eat Your Weeds”. A garden panel was there to answer questions on seed saving, composting, mason bees, fruits & vegetables.

In contrast, Powell River’s Seedy Saturday (this coming weekend! March 14 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Community Living Place on Artaban St. in Cranberry) will have five free workshops (see you there!):

  • 10:00 AM to 10:45 AM: Berry Happy, Thank You
    Volunteer Master Gardener Myst de Vana presents ways to boost immunity in small fruit shrubs.  You can have your fruit (and eat it too) by selecting sturdy varieties, planting for long-term health, and preventing disease and pestiferous creature problems.  Managing crop size, staggering harvests, and using wild berries all help create a potentially long season of treats for our cereal and desserts.
  • 11:00 AM to 11:45 AM: Winter Gardening for Powell River
    Master Composter, and professional horticultural therapist, Carol Engram helps you plan and manage a productive winter garden. Start planning your winter garden now, in order to plant in July.
  • 12:00 NOON to 12:45 PM: Small Greenhouse Permaculture
    Patches from NIMH Farm will talk about some of the innovative greenhouse techniques in use at their farm (on Donkersley Rd. south of Powell River). He will discuss the combination of high production crops in small spaces with the use of chicks and ducks for fertilizing the soil; rotation of the soil and re-fertilization; year-round production divided into a season of greens and another warmer season of peppers, tomatoes, and basil. He will present a slideshow illustrating these techniques and how NIMH Farm is applying them.
  • 1:00 PM to 1:45 PM: Starting Plants from Seed
    Kevin Wilson from micro-market garden, Fiddler’s Farm demonstrates how to take the seeds you get at Seedy Saturday and grow them into healthy plants. Workshop covers starting seeds indoors under lights, direct seeding outdoors, and starting seeds the easy way with minimal protection.
  • 2:00 PM to 2:45 PM: PLANT frequently, HARVEST abundantly
    Wildwood market gardener, Wendy Devlin helps you plan either your first or next  vegetable garden in advance.  Extend your garden’s productivity and  harvest from March to September.
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