by Emma Sloan

WHEN: February 16, 2019
WHERE: Victoria Conference Center, 720 Douglas Street
TICKETS: $8, free for youth under 16

On Saturday, February 16, the James Bay Market Society will again host Victoria’s annual “premiere seed exchange and garden show”—Seedy Saturday.

A celebration of both the coming spring and the best of what local growers have to offer, Victoria’s Seedy Saturday will feature over 50 local vendors, 14 talks from some of Victoria’s most innovative growers, like local soil expert Marika Smith of Healing City Soils, three gardening workshops, and their seed and book exchanges. Hailed as “inexpensive, inspiring, [and] exuberant,” by the society’s website, Seedy Saturday offers an opportunity for both the knowledgeable elite and curious newcomers to delve into the many local garden societies, volunteer opportunities, and gardening-oriented educational programs.

Photos courtesy of Seedy Saturday

Carole Elliott, chair of the James Bay Market Society, says that the event is geared towards all ages and experience levels. “I hand out the brochures and head [attendees] up the stairs so no one’s out in the elements, and we’re finding that we’re starting to attract a very diverse age group—people living in condominiums, people looking to grow their own food, young families with children,” says Elliott. “It’s why we have a children’s area as well. We make seed bombs and things like that for [them].”

In terms of vendors, their offerings this year are exceptionally diverse: tubers, corms, bulbs, whips, and starts, as well as an abundance of tools and soil amendments to help your garden flourish, will all be available for sale. With 50-plus new and recurring vendors, such as Salt Spring Seeds, Wilderness Committee, and Omega Blue Farms, attendees will be spoiled for choice. A full speakers’ program—included with general admission—will also run all day and cover everything from basic techniques to specialized topics for advanced growers.

“We have the best speakers out of all the Seedy Saturdays,” says Elliott. “We have Marika Smith coming about how to get plastics out of soil. We also have Kristen Miskelly of Saanich Native Plants coming to speak on adding native foods to your garden.”

Along with the topics, the target audiences are equally varied. “We’re trying to get new speakers who appeal to the condominium market and new gardeners, as well as to the experienced gardeners as well,” says Elliott. “We have a lot of younger or newly retired people who are looking to grow their own food as a part of the ‘100-mile diet.’”

If you’re an experienced grower, you can trade in the ever-popular seed exchange by trading in seeds from your garden for something brand new. The events recently added book exchange functions the same—simply bring in garden books you no longer use to trade for ones that will help make your garden bloom.

With an on-site ATM, children’s play area, and Seedy Café offering local food and drinks, you can stay all day to soak up the best of what Seedy Saturday has to offer.

For more information on tickets and previous vendors and speakers, visit: jamesbaymarket.com/SeedySaturday