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Seedy Sunday takes over Bowen Park

Lee Sanmiya, Nanaimo Community Gardens Society administrator, sorts through her collection of mixed dried beans, peas, kamut and other varieties at her home as she prepares for Seedy Sunday (March 3). - Chris Bush photo
Lee Sanmiya, Nanaimo Community Gardens Society administrator, sorts through her collection of mixed dried beans, peas, kamut and other varieties at her home as she prepares for Seedy Sunday (March 3).
— image credit: Chris Bush photo

Nanaimo’s only event all about gardening and growing plants from seed takes place this Sunday (March 3).

Seedy Sunday happens at Bowen Park Auditorium from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes a seed exchange, vendors and free workshops. Admission is $3.

Lee Sanmiya, administrator of the Nanaimo Community Gardens Society, said the idea behind the event is to share seeds and build awareness around the issue of preserving heritage seeds.

Saving your own seed instead of relying on seed companies allows people to diversify what is in their gardens because they are not at the mercy of what a seed company decides to sell that year, and it promotes the preservation of heritage seed varieties, she said.

Heritage seeds are any seeds that have been saved and grown for a period of years and come from open-pollinated plants, which are capable of making seeds that will produce seedlings just like the parent plant.

Sanmiya said saving your own seeds saves money and gives people a sense of accomplishment.

“It gives people the sense of the true nature of growing a plant through to its maturity,” said Sanmiya. “What we want is for people to have the skills to be able to do that themselves instead of relying on the seed companies.”

Another thing the event allows people to do is try new things without spending a lot of money, she added.

“There are things I’ve grown and tried only because I got the seeds through an exchange,” said Sanmiya. “It’s the first event of the season. Spring is just all about promise and possibilities. It’s a good place to go if you need some advice.”

There will be three free workshops at the event: Victoria author Carolyn Herriot will deliver a workshop on growing your own food at 10:30 a.m., a seed saving workshop run by Craig Evans and Jen Cody starts at noon and planting for bees begins at 1:30 p.m. with Brenda Jager.

“Unless we have pollination, we can’t save seeds and we don’t get food,” said Sanmiya.

There will also be a number of local vendors at the event selling seeds, seedlings, mason bee houses, mushroom spores and possibly even produce.

Sanmiya said people should bring their seeds in some sort of envelope or baggie if they can – there will be envelopes on hand if people don’t have them – with a short writeup on the seed variety and year harvested, similar to what you would find on a commercial seed package.

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