Seedy Saturday making big return

Township of Gillies, Ont. — With everyone’s garden and fields still hibernating from the cold and snow across Northwestern Ontario’s frozen tundra, it doesn’t hurt to get ahead of the game, even in March.

The Gillies Community Centre will be hosting Seedy Saturday on Saturday from noon-3 p.m. where local seed producers will be selling their wares and locals can bring their seeds to swap. Admission is $2.

The Township of Gillies Reeve Wendy Wright, who is also the organizer of the event, said it’s a good way to get the gardening juices flowing.

“Everybody was pretty upset over (COVID-19) because it was like, ‘What? No seeds. What?,’” said Wright, who said the Gillies variety of the seed swap has been around for over 10 years. “This is our first year back in person.

“Over the winter, people haven’t seen everybody so much with everything dormant. Everybody shows up kind of to the seed swap. ‘I haven’t seen you since last summer’ and everybody starts talking about gardening again and ‘What kind of things are you planting this year?’ or ‘Can I borrow some of your seeds for this, but I’ll trade you for these?’ There’s a lot of garden chat and a lot of fun because everyone is coming out of hibernation a little bit.”

The event jam packs plenty into its three-hour window with this year seeing Hive Alive teach the art of beekeeping, information on permaculture farming by Gillies’ Misty Meadows Permaculture Farm, a Woody Harrelson documentary called Kiss the Ground will be featured and a children’s planting station will also take place.

Another popular part of Seedy Saturday is the mountain of gardening books and magazines that avid gardeners can thumb through and take home.

Jessica Durand, who is helping facilitate the seed exchange event and is involved with the community’s monthly book swap, said pretty well anything to read about seeds in the ground can be found.

“We tend to get a lot of gardening and agricultural books and magazines (from the book swap),” said Durand, who just recently left the position of secretary on the Gillies Community Centre executive board after eight years. “We put them out for people, we also set them aside, so we’re going to have a free, or if you want to make a donation, that’s fine, but it’s just more of an exchanging of information and sharing knowledge.

“Lots of books there for people, lots of different stuff on everything from , not just vegetables, there’s flowers and stuff too.”

Thunder Bay author Graham Saunders, who penned the book Gardening with Short Growing Seasons, will be on hand to speak at the event.

Also in attendance at Saturday’s event will be the Thunder Bay Horticultural Society, Hymers Agricultural Society, Superior Seeds and Seeds of Diversity Canada.

John Nagy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal