This weekend, on Sunday, my husband, Zoe dog and I drove down Island to Nanaimo for the annual Seedy Sunday.
Seedy Sunday (or Seedy Saturday) is a gathering of gardeners, local small seed companies and nurseries, in a low-cost local venue where they can learn from one another, exchange ideas and seeds and plants in a comfortable, social setting-- a 'fair' would be another way to describe it. Nanaimo is located midway up (down) Vancouver Island. The first Seedy Saturday happened on Vancouver Island 23 years ago, in Victoria. There are now over 140 Seedy Saturdays/Sundays across Canada.
You can find out more about Canadian Seedy Saturday and Sunday schedules by going HERE. I am happy to see that we will be able to attend another Seedy Sunday this year when we visit our kids and grandkids in Edmonton.
Carolyn Herriot was one of this year's Seedy Sunday's speakers. She has authored The Zero Mile Diet: A Year-Round Guide To Growing Organic Food
Above is the promo video from this year's Seedy Sunday with Carolyn Herriot,
who was one of the speakers I heard on the day
Carolyn Herriot is a "passionate organic gardener, photographer, lecturer and cook who loves to eat."* I can vouche for being an excellent lecturer in her area of passion. She presented on Seed-Saving for an hour. I was so enthused and inspired that I bought her gorgeous book, The Zero-Mile Diet: A Year-Round Guide to Growing Organic Food . You will find everything in there that you need to know to grow organic food over the course of a year in the Pacific Northwest. The book is arranged according to month and includes the usual scheduling around composting, seed sprouting, planting what when, pruning, and the like for those who appreciate having their gardening year organized. But instead of just a schedule with a toss-in of notes about plants, this book includes a horn of plenty of up-to-the-moment information about making your organic food gardening both a soil-enriching and soul-enriching experience!
Here are some of the other interesting topics included in the book:
- explanation of the Zero-Mile Diet
- a 5-year Vision for Greater Food Security
- Discovering your Soil Type
- The 4 Secrets of Feeding the Soil
- A 3-Bin Composting System
- Liming the Garden
- Good Garden Design
- Top-10 Gardening Tools (of the author's)
- Recycling Ideas for the Garden
- Special Teas
- Seeding the Greenhouse
- Building a Lasagna Garden
- Self-feeding Vegetables
- Insect Pests
- Integrated Pest Management
- Planting a Seed-Saving Garden
- Keeping Roses Rosy Organically
- The "Berry Walk"
- Seeding Winter Vegetables
- Establishing a Small Fruit Orchard
- Native Bees
- Canning 101
- Seven Steps to a Winter Lasagna Garden
- Saving Seeds Successfully
- Pruning Stone-Fruit Trees
- Growing Great Garlic (and How to Braid Garlic)
- 10 Ideas for Green Tomatoes
- The Final Seed Collection
- Putting the Garden to Bed for Winter
- Green Manures
- How to Clean a Bee Box
- How to Sprout Seeds in Five Days
- Phytonutrients-- Another Reason to Grow Your Own Food
- Secrets of Success
The above list is about a half of the exciting topics covered in the book. I bought it based on her wonderful lecture on seed-saving and am thrilled that she tells how to save the alphabet of plant seeds, and when to save them and how to store them. Now I am excited about the book's wide range of topics, in general. Here is one thing I have learned already and done something about:
Under the heading "Wonderful Weeds", p. 38, Herriot writes: "Chickweed....[is a] shallow-rooted weed that grow[s] in fertile conditions-- ... indicates good fertility." And, as I had intuited, she writes about Chickweed being an Edible Weed (along with other weeds like Bitter Cress, Dandelion, Henbit, Nettle, etc.). Chickweed forms a dense mat in my garden every Spring, usually late February and early March. I was feeling a little frustrated and got suggestions to do a thorough job of stripping it out to get rid of it for good from a gardening friend of mine, and suggestions from my gardening son to either dry it in the sun and then compost it, or put it in a pail of water and use it for compost tea. Well, after reading about it being edible I did more research online and found that Chickweed is not only merely edible, but is a rich composite of tons of nutrients. And apparently people want to plant this "weed" in their gardens now! Well, off I went to my garden to pick some for a veggie stew I was making. NOTE: Soak in apple cider vinegar to remove grit. Chop (they're stringy otherwise) and add at the end of the stew. Substitute for spinach in recipes! Yay!
This is going to be my favourite gardening book, I can tell already! I plan to include little reviews of various other parts of it as I go about my gardening, so either hang in for that, or get yourself a copy!
*author's bio from the back book cover of The Zero-Mile Diet: A Year-Round Guide to Growing Organic Food .