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Victoria gardeners scramble to create local seed exchanges

Fairfield resident’s seed exchange an instant hit
Rebecca Lang of Any Thyme Gardening installed a seed exchange library in front of her home on Beechwood Avenue. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

It took some looking, but Rebecca Lang scored an old metal mailbox online.

She painted it yellow, stencilled in the letters Beechwood Seed Exchange, and installed it on Monday.

By Thursday, most of the seeds she had put in the exchange were replaced with seeds from others. Lang had help from her staff through her gardening company, Any Thyme Gardening.

“We’ve been talking about it since last year with seeds in such high demand. The biggest seed companies had problems keeping them in stock,” Lang said. “More people are interested, not just in gardening, but in community exchanges.”

Lang isn’t aware of any other seed exchanges in the city but encourages others to start them. It’s an opportune time to start one, without any of the region’s annual Seedy Saturday type events happening (or only happening on a very small scale).

READ MORE: Victoria’s community garden plots a hot commodity

Carole Elliott is one of the organizers for the annual Victoria Seedy Saturday that happens in the Victoria Conference Centre. Pre-pandemic, it was one of the most circled dates on the calendar. Gardeners could chew the ear of a professional, detail the shade and soil particulars of their garden patch, and walk away with seeds, or even a starter plant, that will work for that spot.

“There is a huge demand for good organic seeds as more people are gardening to increase their food supply and as a hobby,” Elliott said.

This year, Victoria Seedy Saturday worked with Farm Folk City Folk to stage Virtual Seedy Saturday on Feb. 19 to 21. Victoria Seedy Saturday also shared names of seed producers, and what they were selling, on the webpage.

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“We contributed a speaker fee and a silent action fee and advice to the organizers. We are expecting to be back in 2022 when events are again allowed. We will have our full lineup of speakers and gardening vendors,” Elliott said.

For Lang, the rustic yellow mailbox has already become a hub for sharing and passing conversation.

The seed exchange is nestled along a row of well-established boulevard gardens which serve as a bee highway come spring and summer.

“We have a lot of people who walk in the area that swing by, some to see how our boulevard gardens are doing,” Lang said.

If you’re lucky, you can score some of the popular hollyhock seeds that Lang saved from her back garden. Seeds range from ornamental flowers to edible flowers, and myriad greens and veggies.

“There are partial packages that someone can make use of, and sometimes full packages,” Lang said.

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Rebecca Lang of Any Thyme Gardening installed a seed exchange library in front of her home on Beechwood Avenue. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)