Quesnel’s Seedy Saturday is the place to cultivate your green thumb

Quesnel’s Seedy Saturday is the place to cultivate your green thumb

The event will include expert talks and demonstrations on a number of gardening topics

The 6th Annual Seedy Saturday event will be in its usual location at the College of New Caledonia and University of Northern British Columbia Quesnel campus on Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. As usual, it is a family-friendly event that promotes food gardening and provides information and motivation for everyone who might be interested in producing their own good quality food, whether they have a balcony, a yard or acres of land.

This year, there will be a couple of new features. Near the entry you will find a Seed Exchange table. Instead of buying from the same stack of seeds sold every year at the store, people now will have an opportunity to start buying and trading seeds with other local gardeners. Maybe last year’s garden provided a mass amount of pea seeds but not enough zucchini seeds, or maybe a neighbour has a secret stash of magic beans they want to start sharing. The Seed Exchange table is a place where you can bring your seeds and exchange them for something new and exciting from a source that clearly thrived in our local growing zone. The Exchange table offers a chance to engage with other local green thumbs, build community connections and really know where your seeds are coming from.

The Black Box Culinary Challenge is another new event. This year, Chef Jennifer Linegar-Johnson from Petty Catwater is enlisting a few culinary enthusiasts to “Cook out of the Box.” Amy Quarry from Long Table Grocery will be filling the boxes with local ingredients, and the Petty Catwaters Crew will be creating appetizers, main courses and desserts. We have a spot left for anyone who wants to come join the fun this year and challenge their cooking skills. If you don’t feel like joining in the fray, you can come out and watch the happenings in the kitchen.

Five workshops by local experts will happen every hour. Choose one or two or come for them all:

10:00 – Hugel Gardening with Callandra and Jake Neustater. Hügelkulter means mound cultivation or hill garden and is a style of gardening commonly used in Germany and eastern European countries as well, as in permaculture farming, that involves growing food atop a mound of logs, twigs, leaves, compost and soil. This is an exciting chance to learn to grow a typical garden without irrigation, fertilization, back-breaking and knee-crushing body positions, while also bumping up your local growing zone.

11:00 – Composting. Oliver Berger “Compostuer” from the Potato House Project in Williams Lake and Victor Johnson Quesnel’s Compost King will share tips on creating zero-cost home composting systems as well managing larger volumes and keeping smells down, and some unique sifting techniques. Oliver has been managing the compost at the Potato House for three years. Victor has been managing composting at both community gardens in Quesnel for many years.

12:00 – No-Till Gardening. Lynne Postnikoff, MGIT, owner of Quarter Acre Urban Farm, will tell you what the ‘no till’ method to gardening is all about. By learning simple, time-efficient practices, you can boost your soil nutrients and increase food production with little effort.

1:00 – Extending the Growing Season with Rob Borsato from Mackin Creek Farm. Spring 2018 is already behind schedule! This workshop will explore different options for extending the gardening growing season. These will include everything from clotches and row covers to low tunnels and greenhouses.

2:00 – Tomato Growing in the Cariboo – with Barb Scharf from Hill Farm. Learn how to grow tomatoes from an expert. The workshop includes the whole process from seed to fruit. Barb will discuss seed starting, growing indoors and out, container planting, heirlooms and hybrids and finally how to save your own tomato seeds. She will also speak about GMO tomatoes.

Children will be entertained in their own section with activities planned by the Quesnel and District Community Arts Council; additional toys in a play area should keep them occupied. In case you are there over lunch, you can buy tasty, nutritious food on-site. Demonstration booths will be providing additional information and resources about a range of gardening and food-related activities. For example, you can find information on how to borrow food preservation equipment, how to keep bees, grow mushrooms, get involved with a community garden, or find food in the wild. Vendors will have seeds and seedlings for sale. Consider bidding on cool stuff at the silent auction that is helping to fund the event.

Check out our Facebook event and come out and celebrate spring and the beginning of a new growing season. Get inspired and find out what you need to know to get growing great food in your own space.

Contributed by Maureen Trotter, a member of the Seedy Saturday organizing committee.

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