The big seed companies may very well have all the latest varieties, propagated specifically to give the highest yield possible, but that doesn’t impress Kim Hammond.
In fact, said the Parksville master gardener and Seedy Saturday organizer, bigger and newer don’t necessarily equate to better. Far from it.
“The commercial varieties may yield more and ship better, but for a local gardener, that might not be the case,” she said.
“A tomato from Ontario may have great yields, but on the west coast it may not do so well because of our wetter conditions.”
The major seed companies, she added, tend to only sell the most popular varieties of vegetable seeds, leaving hardier, more specialized varieties behind.
“If a variety only sells 10,000 packets, they may drop it,” she said. “Some of the people at Seedy Saturday may only sell 50 packages of one variety, but they keep growing it because it has the quality they want.”
That’s important, she said because seeds that are adapted to the local area can give better results, even if they cannot be mass produced.
“Virtually every back yard is its own micro-climate,” she said. “Keeping your own seeds and perpetuating what does well in your garden and community is a way to increase your own yield.”
Seedy Saturday, she said, began with local communities swapping seeds,” she said. “A lot of it started on the Prairies with people saving grains and it progressed from there, with people sharing their seeds.”
Seedy Saturday kicks off at 10 a.m. in the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre and runs until 3:30 p.m.