Monday, 18 March 2013

Seedy Saturday Adventures

A note: I am getting back into the discipline of writing a blog; I wrote this shortly after attending the Seedy Saturday event, pressed "save" intending to read it over later, and left it for several weeks. Oops.
Anyhow, better late than never:

On Saturday March 3, I scrambled my stuff together after sleeping late, and drove out to the Britannia Beach Ron Kolbus building to attend a seed exchange and sale called Seedy Saturday. I'd heard about it a few weeks beforehand and decided to go; it wasn't until I told my mother of my plans that I realized the double (and thoroughly unintended) meaning of "seedy". Needless to say, she had a good laugh at that (and at me).

I drove up to the building, noting that I had the correct address, and turned into the adjacent parking lot.
It was full. Several cars had already made the circuit, and were heading back out, so I followed them to a slightly further parking lot, only three quarters full. Neither were small parkinglots.

So, no Mom, the event was not just attended by a few old geezers. And the only seediness involved was that of embryonic plants.

Entered the building to find a small room buzzing with chatter. Display tables for different food-related organizations lined its perimeter, and, closest to the door, a seed exchange table was set up where gardeners could drop off their extra saved seed and pick what they wanted from what others had brought.

It was an organized chaos of every imaginable type of seed envelope, with varieties ranging from cucumbers to wildflowers to squash and tomatoes.
Since I had not managed to collect a large excess of seed from the plants I saved seed from - cosmos, chives, and peas, added to the fact that I'd slept late and rushed out the door, I opted to make a donation (the alternative option to trading).

Leaving the exchange table, I ventured into a gymnasium brimming with people who clustered around the  tables set up by local food vendors, small seed sellers, and various food-justice organizations.

The fluctuating roar of chatter, which can only be heard when large numbers of people gather in a space and converse simultaneously, filled the room.

I ventured toward the seed tables.

About an hour later, after perusing, agonizing about, and purchasing seeds, I had checked almost every variety off of my "wanted" list, and even picked up a few on the spur of the moment.

The Cottage Gardener, the seed company I'd ordered from last year was there, selling their seeds for $3 a packet, and 4 for $10, about the average price range in the room. I got all the seeds I'd wanted from them with the added bonus of the deal and without paying any tax or shipping on them.

With a paper bag stuffed full of seed packets, I made my way to a side-room filled with more people for a seed saving workshop. The presentation was both inspiring and informative, convincing me that I wanted to save seed from my tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, and lettuce (all self-pollinating and therefore requiring minimal isolation to get seeds that come true to type).

Next hour, there was an introduction to Permaculture, which is (as far as I can understand) a design philosophy which models gardens after natural ecosystems, taking into consideration the people and natural environment which they touch. Design is founded on observation and interaction with the specific location, and maximizes the beneficial interactions of its parts.
Now I want to learn more!
To this end, I'll be attending a Permaculture conference hosted by Permaculture Ottawa on March 23-24.

I left before the worm composting workshop started because it was 1:30 and I hadn't eaten yet, and because I wanted to make some final changes to my seed choices. But I may learn more about that on my own.

Overall, it was a morning well spent.

Since then, I've started planting my tomato and pepper seeds. The last frost date in Ottawa is May 6 or May 11, depending on who's your source, so 8 weeks before the last frost date (the time to start tomato & pepper from seed) was last Monday or last Saturday.

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