August 20th, 2018

Seed swap a smash hit

By Mo Cranker on April 16, 2018.

Joyce Fraser and Gigi Varghese label the seeds they picked up at the Seedy Saturday Seed Exhchange. The event ran for the fourth year, allowing Hat gardeners to pick up some seeds. -- NEWS PHOTO MO CRANKER

Medicine Hat gardening enthusiasts had a chance to get some new materials and share some ideas this weekend at the fourth annual Seedy Saturday Seed Swap.

The event ran Saturday afternoon at Police Point Park, and offered people the chance to grab some needed seeds for the gardening season.

“A seed swap is when people bring some seeds to give away to other gardeners,” said organizer Alison Van Dyke. “This year we have also had people bringing in tools to show other people.

“It’s a good opportunity for people to learn what might grow really well in the area.”

Running for four consecutive years, the seed swap has gotten bigger each year, says Van Dyke.

“They run these seed swaps all over the place, so we decided to try one here,” she said. “People have really taken to it and enjoyed it every year.

“We see a lot of familiar faces every year, and see a lot of new ones as well. This year has been packed for us. We had people here waiting before we opened the doors, so there’s definitely some excitement.”

Multiple information booths were set up around the swap, with the intention of connecting people, says Van Dyke.

“We wanted to make it a bit broader this year, and not just about swapping seeds,” she said. “We’ve set up some booths here with the hopes of connecting people to local growers and organizations.”

Van Dyke says there is a lot to like about growing a garden in Medicine Hat, but people need to know what will or will not grow.

“This is considered a semi-arid desert,” she said. “What is great about our area is the amount of sun and heat we get during the summer.

“We’re able to grow things here like watermelon, cantaloupe and other things that they would have a lot of trouble growing in somewhere like Calgary or Edmonton.”

As for gardening tips, Van Dyke says she has one she loves to share with everyone.

“A lot of people have blossom-end rot on their tomatoes and peppers,” she said. “It can be very discouraging for gardeners, especially if you’re trying something new.

“Once it starts rotting, it just won’t grow any further. The easy solution to that is, once you’ve dug the hole to put plant the seeds, in the bottom of the hole, place three or four broken up TUMS or calcium tablets — that will solve your problems.”

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