Seeds of Spring

saanich-seedy-saturday-jan-5Another year spins round and here in the depths of an unusually chilly winter on the West Coast we start looking forward to spring.

Spring means gardens, and gardens mean seeds! Seeds mean Seedy Saturdays, and for the second year Haliburton Community Organic Farm has partnered with the Gardens at HCP to offer the first such event on Vancouver Island: Saanich Seedy Saturday, next Saturday January 14.

And seeds need bees, hence our special guest speaker Lori Weidenhammer, author of Victory Gardens for Bees.

Good nourishment for the event is being provided by Charlotte & the Quail, the Horticulture Centre‘s cafe, coming out of winter hibernation for the event. The cafe began life as Nourish, now brilliantly expanded into a downtown location in Victoria, and caught the attention of local nutritionists for its well-executed gluten free menu options, its provision of house-made ferments (water kefir, fermented cashew butter, etc.), its support of local farms (including Haliburton!) and food businesses, and its excellent cooking.

Some seeds are better planted than eaten, but there are fibre and healthy fats to be had from many others. I’ve been making a pretty wonderful seed cracker this season, and I recommend you check out the Endurance Cracker recipe over at Oh She Glows. Vegan and dairy, grain, egg and gluten free, it’s a small miracle of simplicity and deliciousness that’s safe to serve to most food-challenged guests. I’ll be providing some cookies at Saanich Seedy Saturday (a fund-raiser for the farm) and these will be among the offerings.

Seeds of love and superfoods

SeedValentine-1024x1024This is one of the loveliest valentines boxes I’ve seen. What says love more enduringly than a whole garden’s worth of seeds?

I’ve been loving the fruits of my garden this (pre-)spring: the kale, the leeks, the collards, celery, parsley and mustard greens that have overwintered and become sweet and nourishing. I can’t wait for the exquisitely tender spring shoots and flower heads that will soon start branching off those brassicas. All these things that are best eaten straight from the garden, rather than after weeks in containers and warehouses – since storage diminishes the vitamins and enzymes you find in freshly-harvested foods.

Feed myself with leafy greens though I may, I wouldn’t say I’m the most gifted gardener on the planet. (If I were I might not have chosen a house with a north-facing garden encircled by Garry Oak trees!) But I have been blessed with exceptional teachers, friends and neighbours who’ve shared their wisdom, seeds, seedlings and techniques.

One of the things I’ve learned is the importance of seed saving – and seed sharing. Victoria Seedy Saturday is coming up and will be my third such this year. Haliburton Farm held a hugely popular event at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific in mid-January. A week or so later, the Gorge Tillicum Urban Farmers swapped seeds that were mostly locally grown.

Next week, Victoria Seedy Saturday fills the Victoria Conference Centre with seeds, greenery and gardeners. I’ll be one of the speakers, my topic Superfoods – in Your Own Backyard. See you there? Come say hello! I’ll be at the book table afterwards with my book on food security: Digging the City – An Urban Agriculture Manifesto.