Posts Tagged ‘seedy sunday


Seedy Sunday, seed stores and seed sorting

In the interests of transparency, and because it’s been asked, it’s about time I explained some of the behind-the-scenes workings of Seedy Sunday. People want to know more about what happens with the seeds, where they come from and how they get looked after.

There’s an entire ecosystem of seeds that keep Seedy Sunday running. And explaining it all may show you the depth of my madness. But because this is a community event I think it’s good to have a bit of clarity around what happens.

  • Anna’s seed collection

I have this thing for seeds. I grow them, I collect them, I process and store them. Some I swap, some are given to me and some are bought. This little seed fetish is how Seedy Sunday started; not just to feed my maniacal collecting frenzy, but because the value of seeds and sharing and community building became more and more apparent.

  • Seedy Sunday’s pot of gold

To prepare for a Seedy Sunday I donate a pot of seeds for each event; usually about 50 packets. This ensures that everyone who comes gets something and adds some variety to the table. Other people bring seeds and whatever is left after an event is safely stored away in an air-tight tin can until the next one.

  • A growing opportunity

Some of that seed may be grown out by myself or given to experienced gardeners to keep the seedline going. This builds up stores of seed to be giving out at Seedy Sunday or to go into a community chest. That’s a project I’m calling the Kapiti Seed Store.

  • Funding the growth

LovePlantLife seeds are a separate thing entirely, but still an important part of this ecosystem. Most are bought in but some lines are grown by me under careful conditions and checked for strong viability. These act as the fundraising arm for these activities. I’d like to keep Seedy Sunday and the Seed Store as self-funding projects and not apply for already overstretched Kapiti community grants.

LovePlantLife lets this happen by paying the bills – marketing, hall hire, printing, consumables etc. The donation at events usually covers afternoon tea and a bottle of wine for the speakers. None of the seeds I’ve received through Seedy Sunday have gone on to be sold.

So what do I get out of all this?

I get to put together something pretty special. Seedy Sundays have been really popular, educational and social. Some great things have come out of it, some great friends even. I’m doing work I feel is really important. And I actually really enjoy harvesting, processing and packaging seed. I guess it’s what you would call enjoying the little things in life :)

~ Anna


Prepping for another Seedy Sunday

So things are all aflutter here, for tomorrow is Seedy Sunday, Kapiti’s seed swapping extravaganza. The kitchen is covered in seeds, the table is covered in seeds, the floor is covered in seeds, I’m covered in seeds and yet there are still rows of little seed packets ready to go on the swap table.

Due to ‘complications’ in my schedule this year (wonderful, wonderful complications), many harvested seedlines were stashed away in tins higgledy-piggledy without proper organisation. All the seed I look after gets labelled and stored away in old Milo tins over winter to make sure they’re safe, sound and stay viable. Some seed has just got to me, like the wonderful lemongrass you can see above. After seed is collected each year it needs to be cleaned.

For fleshy fruit like tomatoes or pumpkins, this may mean soaking in a bucket and partially fermenting it (smelly process) to get the seed nice and clean, drying and packing. For most plants though, cleaning seed means drying and passing through a series of screens to get rid of as much other plant material (chaff) as possible. For this I use a fantastic interchangeable sieve I found in an Indian grocery store in Petone. I work the plant material through the series of mesh sizes. Breeze is also a great tool and I’ve spent many hours walking around in the backyard with a bowl of seeds, separating out the chaff and letting it blow away with a careful flick of the bowl.

Before being stored away (usually) all the seed is completely dried and labelled with exactly what variety it is and where it came from. All of this is noted in a spreadsheet as it can be tricky to keep track of 80+ sidelines I hold.

So booking the hall, organising a speaker and letting everyone know that the event is on is only part of the organisation that goes into a Seedy Sunday. Cleaning, sorting and packaging seeds is the other side of it – a side I really do enjoy. Must be something about taking pleasure from the small things in life.


Seedy Sunday Spring

Sunday 19 September 2pm
Paraparaumu Memorial Hall, Tutanekai St
Entry $2

He was such a hit last year that we’re bringing back Darcy Philp, chicken man and lead consultant on This Way Up’s Funky Chicken Farm project. Darcy will be bringing some of his favourite birds in, giving us a rundown on bird health and welfare and what you need to know to keep chickens in your own backyard. Bring all your chicken-related questions!

Remember to bring along any excess produce from your garden, useful plants or spare seeds to swap.

Seedy Sunday blog – More information about the Kapiti events.
The Funky Chicken Farm – Excellent show from Radio NZ with mp3s & videos.


Last Seedy Sunday for 2009

1239020_desert_patternsWow! Isn’t it insane how this last month has just flown by? Sorry this is later than expected but we are on again for this weekend. I hope you’ve got all your leftover seeds or seedlings ready to swap? Maybe you have some tasty treats already coming out of your garden?

Don’t let your veges dry out this year! Drought-proof your vege garden!
This month, water maestro Ben Thompson will be answering all your questions and give a demonstration on how to make a rain bale on the cheap. Water storage is invaluable for the Kapiti garden. Make sure you’re ready with these great tips from Ben.

This will be the last Seedy Sunday for 2009. But we promise to return with more vim and vigour next January – same time, same location.

Seedy Sunday
November 15, 2pm
Paraparaumu Memorial Hall
Tutanekai St


Growing magic beans

heirloom bean varieties New ZealandTo me, seeds are mini miracles. When I hold them in my hand I get terribly excited by all that potential inside them. And eating something that grew from a little seed I planted and nurtured is simply incredible.

Some seeds themselves taste delicious and some just look beautiful – some are both. I have twenty varieties of different beans at home and no two look the same – spotted, speckled, stripey and squiggly in a range of colours, shapes and sizes.

If you’ve never dabbled in the wonders of seeds, beans are a great place to start. They’re keen beans, they grow fast. Satisfyingly so. They’re easy – soak them overnight in some warm water, then direct sow them into your garden keeping them moist. In seven days you should see them coming up. Be vigilant for slugs though!

Magic beans

Our modern beans are derived from plants that once grew wild in Central and South America. But we’ve been cultivating beans for ages and archaeologists have found traces of domesticated types that date back more than 7000 years. Heirloom gardeners have hundreds of varieties of bean to choose from. So I’m just going to focus on a few of my favourite shelled beans, all available in New Zealand, some of which have been available through Seedy Sunday. Continue reading ‘Growing magic beans’


Seedy Sunday is next Sunday – September 20, 2pm – new venue!

dsc02193Hoping to see you next Sunday! Because things have got a little bit tight lately, with SS becoming so popular, we’ve now had to move to a bigger venue – the Paraparaumu Memorial Hall on the corner of Tutanekai and Aorangi Sts. Click here to see it on Google Maps.

This month, Dave Johnston will be talking to us about Effective Microorganisms (EM). The concept of EM was developed by Japanese horticulturist Teruo Higa, from Japan. He reported in the 1970s that a combination of approximately 80 different microorganisms is capable of positively influencing decomposing organic matter such that it reverts into a ‘life promoting’ process. So essentially, we are talking about putting life back into our soil and growing healthier, nutrient-dense food.

The swap table has been huge! It’s fantastic to see such a variety of plants being grown in the area. Bring along any of seeds, produce or plants you have to swap.

This month, you may want to remember to bring some cash as there will also be a bit more of a sales table with books from Levin Soil & Health, Earth Whisperers/Papatuanuku DVDs, some Bokashi buckets and other EM.

I have to say a huge thanks Pat at the Kapiti Community Centre for looking after us so well. We are so lucky to have such great facilities available here.  I’ve also been very grateful for the support of the Kapiti Observer, Levin Soil & Health, Sam, Andrew, Jo, Sharon, Pam and Richard, as well as you all for making Seedy Sunday such a great event. Let’s do it all again this Sunday!


Seedy Sunday – Kapiti – August 16

DSC02389Yep, it’s that time again and we have Grant Lyon speaking about nutrient density in commercial and organic food and how to get those nutrients into your soil. He will be talking about Brix levels and refractometers and ways to get the best vegetables out of our gardens. I’ve found a bit of a basic introduction to brix here.

I hope you all have your seeds, plants or produce ready to go for the swap table. This has been such a huge success, with everybody eager to see what other people are growing and take home something different.

We’ve had a lot of press in the last month – appearing in the Kapiti Observer, the NZ Gardener mail-out and a lovely article by Hannah Zwartz in the Dom Post.  So I’m expecting a great event this Sunday. Hope to see you there!

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