Those hoping to have success in the garden this year might improve their chances by visiting the 12th annual Kelowna Community Seed Swap at Okanagan College Saturday.
Organizer Jon Alcock of Sunshine Farm said heritage seed producers throughout the interior of B.C. will offer up regionally adapted varieties, known as landraces, which will give local gardeners the best odds for success this year.
“Heritage varieties are those which were grown by our previous generations,” said Alcock.
“Why did the produce from grandma’s garden taste so good? Because the varieties were not bred for industrial agriculture as so many are today.”
He added the heritage seeds focus on taste rather than uniform ripening, size, shape, colour and ability to keep for extended periods of time on the supermarket shelf.
“When we spend so much time and effort in our gardens, it is nice to have produce that actually has gustatory appeal.”
According to Alcock, the annual seed swap has grown every year. The inaugural seed swap was held downtown in the Laurel building, but quickly outgrew that venue.
He added there will likely be 1,000 to 1,500 people at this year’s event and eight or nine regional seed growers.
Once again the emphasis of this year’s seed swap will be on organic, open pollinated seed.
This year Sunshine Farm will be offering over 300 varieties, one of which is the Rouge Sang Violette carrot, a French variety from the 1870s. Alcock said he considers it the best flavoured carrot the farm has ever grown.
The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in the atrium of Okanagan College’s Centre for Learning.
Gabe Cipes of Summerhill Pyramid Winery will talk about Biodynamics in the Vineyard at 11 a.m. and Alcock will speak about Seed Saving for the Home Garden at 1:30 p.m. Both sessions will be held in the Centre for Dialogue upstairs in the atrium. The event is also being held in conjunction with the World Community Film Festival in the student union building theatre.
There will also be a seed swap table that will allow guests to trade seeds they’ve produced in their backyard for anything else on the table. Those who don’t have seeds to swap can still take other varieties with a donation to Seeds of Diversity, the national seed exchange.
For more information, contact Jon at 250-764-4810.