By Chris Parker
Once again, we find ourselves paying homage to the McBride and District Library, the Open Gate Community Garden group from McBride, and the Dunster Community Association, who worked together to bring off the first and hugely successful “Seedy Saturday” in Dunster March 8th.
With some difficulty to establish an accurate count of attendees because the event was spread out throughout the art school complex, and the comings and goings of several of the participants, it was thought that the attendees were somewhere in the neighbourhood of 90 to 100, a respectable result for this first time event. With a truly awesome agenda and an outstanding list of presenters the group of attendees which included those with expertise and rookies as well, were given an education in Gardening 101 through to Masters level discussions on soil enrichment, pest control, building and measuring soil levels and textures and what to add or not add for certain crops. As well, presentations on a new local pollinator (blue honey bees called Mason Bees), new seeding techniques pioneered by Gary and Wendy Lowe and detailed instruction on Lasagna Gardening from local expert and the Goat’s gardening columnist Pete Amyoony were scattered throughout the day.
Vendors had a variety of seeds available for donation or purchase, not to mention a wonderful display of new gardening equipment, chemicals and other gardening needs from Home Hardware. There was much to see and do as well as listen to the many experts gathered at the event. The event which started promptly at 10 a.m. and ran throughout the day included a wonderful garden meal over the lunch hour.
In the afternoon a one hour Q & A session preceded a couple of movie presentations, and resulted in a series of very complex discussions on ph testing, garden slugs and how to deal with them, when to use alfalfa to add nitrogen to the soil, under what conditions to add sawdust and a number of items specifically dealing with the use of sand, composite and vermiculite in potting and soil regeneration amongst other queries. Even for someone who considers himself to have a reasonable gardening background and knowledge, some of the discussion was over my head while others were a useful reminder of lessons from long ago.
The highlight for this attendee was probably the gift provided by Gary and Wendy Lowe who demonstrated how to build an efficient and cost effective piece of planting equipment which will make better use of the available land and significantly shorten the time used in seeding vegetable crops. Special recognition needs to be extended to Nancy Taylor and Naomi Balla-Boudreau who acted as MCs, but more importantly kept the agenda on schedule throughout the day as well as successfully ensuring that everyone from gardening newbies to gardening experts all got to ask their questions or make their points.
Congratulations to one and all that joined hands to make this event the huge success it was.
Photos: Chris Parker