A Gardener’s Diary: Take a chance on gardening

Gardener Jocelyne Sewell rejoices in what seems to be the early arrival of spring in the North Okanagan

What fantastic weather we have been getting lately. We could not have asked for a better day last Saturday for the Shuswap Seed Swap in Enderby.

Although the venue was changed, it was very well-attended, with a lot of familiar faces. It seems that more people are trying their hands at gardening for some of their own produce. This way you know what you are eating.

With the beautiful weather, there were vendors with their tents outside. Lots of organic seeds and vegetables were on display. I would not have enough space in this column to describe all that was offered and sold at this event. One thing I could have spent more time looking at was the two young alpacas in their little pen. I am sure that every kid that went by had to have a look and enjoy them and so did I.

If you could not make it, don’t worry as you will have another chance. SENS (Sustainable Environment Network Society) and Vernon in Transition invite you to join them on the first day of spring to celebrate seeds, gardening, bees, local food and community.

There will be locally grown heirloom seeds, starts, plants and garden products as well as locally produced food, honey and more. There will be a free community seed exchange, educational displays, children’s activities and inspiring speakers and films throughout the event. Many other community groups from Vernon and area will take part in it. The event will also feature Sierra Club Canada Foundation’s Protect the Pollinators Tour from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. with special guest speakers John Bennett, national program director of Sierra Club Canada, and Paul McKay, author of The Kepler Code. A screening of the film Voices of Transition will be shown. Admission is by donation ($2 suggestion). For more information, go to www.facebook.com/events/434822590005938

All this will take place March 21 at the Vernon Recreation Centre, 3310-37th Ave., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Come join us and have a great day.

According to the weather channel it looks like no more heavy frost for awhile. I am getting my beds ready and some seeds can be sown now. As soon as it is warming up and you can get to work in your garden, you can plant some of the cool weather crops. These include arugula, beets, carrots, onions from sets, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach and turnips. Sweet Peas love the cool weather so you can soak the seeds overnight and plant them.

Inside, you can start your broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, leeks, lettuce, tomato and pepper. Melon and cucumber and squash can also be started inside at the end of March.

Don’t start everything at once. We might have a cold April or May and plants ready to go in the garden from the house will not be happy to sit in cold or wet soil. Gardening is addicting but also a gamble as you never know what tomorrow brings: this is called life.

Depending on the area you live in, you have to be your own judge of your gardening conditions. We have a south-facing slope, with the whole area protected from heavy winds and my raised beds contributing to warming the soil faster.

For more information: 250-558-4556.

Jocelyne Sewell is an organic gardening enthusiast in the North Okanagan and a member of the Okanagan Gardens & Roses Club. Her column appears every other Wednesday.