The Seedy Saturday doors at the Hillhurst/Sunnyside Community Association building opened at 10 am, I arrived at 10:30ish and there was already aBUZZ. It was like bees at a beehive with people of all ages popping in and out looking at tables filled with small brown envelopes of seeds.
I was the 287th bee and there were many more right behind me – with more arriving as I left at noon.
It has been a long tough winter in Calgary with record amounts of snowfall (my garden is still under three feet of snow) that shows no signs of quitting.
In fact, there was a snow squall at 9:30 am just before the Seedy Saturday doors opened. However gardeners, especially in Calgary where the average number of frost-free days is only 117 are eternal optimists.
Who knew too that Seedy Saturday is a worldwide event, bringing together regional seed collectors with the public! I wouldn’t have gone had my neighbour not asked me if I was going (as she was going to be away). I thought, “Why not?”
What I found….
In addition to the buzz of the “human” bees, there were two gyms at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Centre full of displays, perhaps about half were selling seed (15 or so) others were selling seedlings.
As you would expect, there were also several volunteer organizations like Calgary Horticultural Society, Calgary Rock and Alpine Society, Friends of Reader Rock Garden, Green Calgary, Community Crop and Grow Calgary.
So too were there a couple of exhibitors selling funky hand-made gardening tools, that were like works of art.
There was even a seed exchange. Rats I should have collected and brought some of my Joe Pye weed seeds from last fall! Perhaps next year?
- When I use Miracle Grow fertilizer with high nitrogen content, I am literally feeding the aphids - they love the free nitrogen. I need to use a slow release fertilizer.
- Composting is like rocket science. Most of the compost you buy at Costco or the hardware stores is dead compost that has been pasteurized. You want live compost not dead. In addition, I am going to have to rethink my random throw whatever and toss whenever of my composter, as it is definitely not proper composting.
- Yes you can grow flowers from seeds in Calgary. I will believe it when I see the beautiful, good sized plants with prolific bloom!
- Flowers and vegetables love to grow together.
- Mushrooms will save bees. Donna Balzer, Calgary’s guru gardener informed us of new research linking the health of bees to mycelia in mushrooms. She encouraged us to spread bark in our garden and leave tree branches and leaves to rot.
If you are like me, anxious to get into the garden, I would recommend NetFlix’s Big Dreams, Small Gardens. They It is not just about small gardens, nor is it just about, gardens. The stories about why the people want to create a garden are heart warming, ranging from parents wanting a special space for their special needs children to converting the front yard into a community garden and from two neighbours taking down a fence and combining their yards to a woman wanting to create a garden in memory of her deceased sister.
The diversity of human interests and passions continue to amaze me and it is what makes city life so fascinating and fun.
Who knew Calgary had such a vibrant seedy culture?
I bet Calgary could have a Seedy Saturday every Saturday in March and April and they would all be packed.
My Dad, an avid flower gardener in retirement, used to say he liked to experiment with trying to grow one new flower per year.
This year, my experiment will be to create a seed garden and add some vegetable plants to my garden.
That is, if the snow ever melts. As my Mom likes to say, “this too shall pass.”