Old Gardeners Never Die, They Just Go to Seed

Gardening is considered a challenge here in the Yukon. But this year the weather made it less so. Gardens flourished with an earlier than usual spring and a warmer than usual summer.

With the fall colours here and cooler weather upon us most tend to think the gardening season is pretty much finished. But for one person it is the perfect time to talk gardening and more specifically, seeds.

Now is the time when seeds are able to be gathered and stored. And a seed exchange is the perfect place to share some of those seeds.

On Saturday, September 17 Caitlin Beaulieu will be hosting a seed exchange from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 48 Hyland Crescent.

Beaulieu is a long time gardener, starting as a child in her mother’s garden. About two years ago she started to save seeds and is now hosting a seed exchange. Everyone and anyone is invited, even those who know nothing about how to save seeds. In fact it’s those who want to learn how to save seeds who have shown the greatest interest in this seed exchange. Which is great, because Beaulieu has also started to produce some Youtube videos on seed saving.

Not all the seeds to be exchanged need to be from the Yukon, either. Sometimes a gardener has left over seeds or it may be a variety that worked well for them and they want to share. And that’s’ okay, too.

For Beaulieu, seed saving is more than an interesting thing to do that has connections to gardening; seed saving ensures personal food security.

She saves seeds from her own garden and knows they will thrive when she plants them again in the spring because the genetic memory in the seed “remembers” the conditions from the previous year and is able to adapt.  

“If you don’t save them you lose them,” Beaulieu says as we discuss the upcoming exchange.

And losing seed adapted to our cool Yukon conditions isn’t something we want. And that is the point of the exchange, to save the adaptations from our gardens and to share those with others.

Most seed exchange events generally take place in the spring, but spring can be hectic or gardeners may already have their seeds ready to go for the season. Having an exchange in the fall makes perfect sense when you look around at the garden and see the different plants bolting to seed. Learning to collect and store them correctly helps maintain the quality and vitality of the seed – seed that is ready to collect, save and maybe share.

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