Skip Navigation
Regional News
Edward and Linda MacDonald ran the popular seed-swap table at Ottawa's 20th "Seedy Saturday." Photo: Lucy Martin
Edward and Linda MacDonald ran the popular seed-swap table at Ottawa's 20th "Seedy Saturday." Photo: Lucy Martin

"Seed swaps" let gardeners share and explore

Listen to this story
As gardeners look ahead to spring, some take advantage of what's called a "seed swap". It's a good way to recycle unwanted seeds, share a surplus, or take a chance on a few new varieties.

Ottawa's 20th "Seedy Saturday" took place March 2 in a community hall at Britannia Beach. The busy event featured educational booths and a number of regular seed vendors, plus workshops on saving seeds, permaculture and worm composting.

Hear this

Download audio

Share this


The conversation around the tables is educational in itself, as gardeners share tips on growing plants and saving seeds.

Linda MacDonald sorts the just-dropped off seeds and fields questions as people pick out what they want to take.

Eager gardeners could also shop for commercial seeds. Photo: Lucy Martin
Eager gardeners could also shop for commercial seeds. Photo: Lucy Martin
"It's a great system. Every year it's getting busier and busier. More people are bringing in all kinds of seeds and flowers – oh! It's excellent. It starts around ten and I think I'm busy until at least three in the afternoon."

What's most popular? "Tomatoes! People love tomatoes! And what else? I think that they're looking for something new. Different varieties - and organic, of course. They like it because then they are sharing their seeds and they're doing something with them, yes. I think people have to be more aware of the food they are eating. Once they become aware of the information, they are choosing organic foods."

Linda MacDonald guesstimates 90 percent of the swap material is organic or home-grown, but they happily take anything people bring in to share.

Edward MacDonald likes the old varieties. "You get a tomato that's real ugly and is growing on the vine – it's unbelievable to cook with! And a lot of people forget radishes always should be fried. Put 'em in the frying pan, with a little butter - row on row - and turn 'em over and that. A wonderful flavor. There's so much that people don't understand on cooking. Especially with kale. People are just getting on to it."

Participants say this event keeps growing in popularity. Photo: Lucy Martin
Participants say this event keeps growing in popularity. Photo: Lucy Martin
Edward is no stranger to food. "I'm a retired fruit man. I started out in the [Byward] Market in '38, for six dollars a week. And there's no kids today would work for six dollars as hard as we used to work. A lot of seeds around here that people bring in are unbelievable. It's getting bigger…every year it's just growing and growing, growing. I love to see the people come in, pick up the seeds, they go home and then they come back next year. And they're happy and they bring some seeds in – and we've got varieties of all kinds."

At this Seedy Saturday, those who don't come with seeds to swap are welcome to make a small donation instead.

Visitor comments

on:

NCPR is supported by:

This is a Visitor-Supported website.