Kitchener-Waterloo

With seed companies scrambling to fill orders seed swaps grow

Karry Sawatsky says gardening is one way to spend that extra time at home. This year she is sharing her passion by hosting a grassroots seed swap just in time for the start of the season.

Karry Sawatsky says she'll also be sharing one of her favourite vegetable seeds: Lemon cucumber

Karry Sawatsky decided this year to share her passion of growing with the community. She's hosting her first ever seed swap to help people to share vegetable, flower and herb seeds. (Submitted by: Karry Sawatsky)

Karry Sawatsky looks forward to planting and growing her vegetable and herbs every year.

This year, when the Elora woman saw that some of her favourite seed sellers were facing shipping delays and order backlogs she decided she would host her first-ever seed swap to help people to share all kinds of vegetable, flower and herb seeds with one another.

"I thought this year why not share that with the community and also have people feel like we're still in a community even though we can't see each other," Sawatsky told CBC's The Morning Edition.

Until Feb.16, people who want to take part have the option to drop and pick up their seeds at the Elora Brewing Company or by mail. Participants will receive as many new seed packets in return, Sawatsky said.

"I'm going to be sharing one of my favourite ones, which is a lemon cucumber," she adds.

Karry Sawatsky is hosting a community seed swap this year, where people can share different kinds of seeds with one another. Sawatsky said she'll be sharing her favourite seed with the community: Lemon cucumber. (Submitted by: Karry Sawatsky)

Gardening grows in popularity during pandemic

Sawatsky said planting is one way to spend the extra time at home — and you don't have to be an experienced gardener to take part in the seed swap.  

She said even though the ground is still frozen, now is a good time to start thinking about growing and the kinds of foods you want because popular seeds, like peas and tomatoes, become harder to find as the planting season nears. 

Beth Lanigan, a youth services assistant at the Preston branch of the Idea Exchange, said her library's seed program saw a growth in popularity during the pandemic.

The library launched it seed kit program two weeks ago and Lanigan said, "kits have been flying off the shelf."

"Last year, when people stayed home, they realized it was an option to grow your own food and to enjoy time in your backyard," she said.

"We anticipated that it would be another big year for seeds and so far it has been."

She said the library tries to switch things up every couple of weeks and offers different kinds of "seasonally appropriate" seeds for people to pick up —  but one seed will be consistent in every kit, she adds.

Each year the library picks a plant for its One Seed One Community initiative. This year, every kit will have Cascadia pea seeds. The idea, Lanigan said, is for people to give back any excess food they grew to the food bank.

In the coming weeks, she said the Preston library hopes to offer a salad seed kit, which will include lettuce, cucumber and radish seeds, as well as offer a tomato kit that will include a variety of different kinds of tomato seeds.

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