Seedy Sunday a chance to play dirty, veg out

I don’t know about anyone else, but it’s hard to think about gardening, in Edmonton, in March. Especially after this winter. So now, even with the bit of sunshine and warm weather we’ve seen in the last few days, you look outside and see that snow and ice on the ground and you can’t imagine it all melting away ever, let alone before Victoria Day.

But that’s alright, according to Suzanne Cook, from Edmonton’s Seedy Sunday. For one, having a nice garden this far north involves certain indoor activities, like planning and planting ahead. And for two, she says, “We always have Seedy Sunday right about the equinox, this will be our fifth year, but on two of the four we’ve done so far, we’ve had horrendous snowstorms that day. But everybody comes anyway, they don’t care.”

For our purposes, we’re calling Seedy Sunday,at the Alberta Ave Community League, 9210 118 Avenue from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the official start to gardening season. It’s a chance to lay your hands on some choice heritage seeds, rub elbows with garden enthusiasts of all manner of expertise and look forward to the day when you can actually be outside, getting your hands dirty, growing stuff.

For many a horticulturalist’s purpose, it’s important to begin the cycle with the genetic diversity that only open pollinated seeds can provide. Says Cook, “It’s a really great way to get seeds that you know are not being supplied by some giant company. We’ve been selecting for seeds all these years and have all these nice qualities of our various seeds, and now corporations are taking the qualities that they want and putting their names on them, which is really disconcerting.”

Knowing and trusting the origin of the seeds you’re working with does away with that disconcerted feeling, and so, in addition to the free seed exchange that is at the heart of Seedy Sunday, expect to find a number of smaller seed companies selling their wares there.

But, even with all the neigbourly fun that’s to be found in a seed exchange, you can be sure that while you might set out toward Seedy Sunday with that in mind, you’ll stay for all the knowledge. “There’s going to be stuff for beginners, stuff for people who have been gardening for forty years,” Cook says.

Gardening clubs – check. Master composters – check. Help with getting access to a garden plot if you don’t have a yard in which to plant one – check. There will also be panel discussions about Growing Fruit and Gardening for Pollinators and of course, some beginning beginning gardener activities to keep the kids occupied.


And just in case all of that isn’t enough of a Spring preview for you, you’ll find more in the Nina Haggerty Center for the Arts across the street. Being run in conjunction with Seedy Sunday, Beyond the Supermarket focuses on the many ways in which we can obtain our food that don’t involve pushing a shopping cart up and down aisles, from community supported agriculture and community gardens to co-ops.

It’s the single-most hopeful cure for another Sunday afternoon of staring despairingly at the five feet of snow that’s piled up in your yard.