The gardening season is just around the corner

A few upcoming seed swaps in the North Okanagan are the perfect antidote to a long winter

  • Feb. 28, 2018 7:30 a.m.

Jocelyne Sewell

Morning Star Columnist

With the frigid weather upon us, it is hard to think about starting seeds and getting ready for the gardening season. Mark your calendar for the 24th Annual Seed Swap and Natural Living Fair taking place March 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Splatsin Community Center, 5775 Old Vernon Rd., Enderby.

Entry $2, children free.

10:30 a.m. — Seed Saving Part 1 with Sarah Bradshaw

11:15 a.m. — 100 Mile Medicine with Barb Dutot

Noon — Seed Saving Part 2

12:45 p.m. — Seed Saving Part 3

1:30 p.m. — Bio Regionalism

2:30 p.m. — Shuswap Solar Power

SENS (Sustainable Environment Network Society) is pleased to invite you to their fourth annual Vernon Seedy March 17 at the Vernon Recreation Centre, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission by donation ($2 suggested), children free.

11 a.m. — Worms and Vermipost

Noon — Bees and Pollinators

1 p.m. — Introduction to Seed Starting and Seedling Care

Be sure to make time to hear inspiring local garden speakers and ask your gardening questions.

Whether you are a beginner, novice or seasoned gardener don’t miss out on these exciting events. You can pick up tips and learn about gardening, buy your seeds and connect with local growers and community groups. Several local vendors will also be in attendance with produce, honey, bat and bee boxes, natural health products, crafts and more.

Seedy Saturdays also includes a free community seed swap table where people bring their extra seeds or plants to share with others and can take seeds and plants that they want. Be sure your free seeds are clearly labelled so others know what they are and don’t forget to bring envelopes.

By buying and saving local seeds which are grown and harvested in the Okanagan, plants become best suited to grow in our gardens and develop into varieties that will do much better under our local climate. A lot of seeds offered on the market are raised in conditions that differ from our hot and dry Okanagan summers.

If you are pre-germinating your seeds, remember that they need heat. I am placing mine on top of my fluorescent lights or over the heat vents. Even the same seeds don’t germinate at the same rate. Three different sweet pepper varieties started Feb. 11 were still coming up on the 23rd. Some radish and lettuce seeds had roots showing within 24 hours. The freshest seeds will be faster to germinate but older seeds can be good for many years depending how they are stored. They should be kept dry, cool and in the dark. Paper envelopes are good and plastic bottles are working fine. I always enclose the little desiccant packs you find in vitamin bottles.

For more information: 250-558-4556 or

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

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