Busy time in the gardens

Cate Henderson promotes the work of the Heirloom Seed Sanctuary at an environmental conference at Queens University called ‘Food for Thought’


It is spring again! One year ago you may have been reading an article in this paper introducing the new Organic Gardener and Seed Saver, Cate Henderson. Thanks to you Sisters I am still here, having made it through one year of intense learning about saving vegetable seeds! It has been a very busy winter for your beloved Heirloom Seed Sanctuary indeed.

Kingston community members were invited to seed saving workshops in each of the first four months of this year with attendance of up to 21 people! Another group of seed savers has emerged called the Kingston Heirloom Seed Savers. These people are no longer beginners, and have been studying seed saving for the past few years with Carol and Robert Mouck. They have been meeting once a month, sometimes at the barn and at other locations, designating each month to a particular type or family of vegetables and sharing knowledge, experiences and resources on the best ways to save seeds. As always, when knowledge deepens, more questions arise, so this group is a very valuable resource for the Heirloom Seed Sanctuary as we support each other and grow together in understanding. The group has set up a beautiful website www.khss.ca. They also continue to support me in my efforts to deliver beginner level workshops to the ‘Heathfield Heirloom Seed Savers’ on the third Sunday of each month as usual. The June workshop will be held on the Summer Solstice, June 21, and we’ll celebrate this longest day of the year.

I have also been invited to speak about seed saving and the Heirloom Seed Sanctuary by a few groups in the area. A group of farmers in Perth, who sell to the local farmers market, invited me to speak. It was a wonderful group who asked excellent questions. Likewise, the New Farm Project invited me to present an afternoon workshop on seed saving. I spoke to the Belleville Horticulture Club in March to over 100 members! And the Sisters of Providence generously sponsored the first annual Kingston ‘Seedy Saturday’ on March 14, which was a very successful educational event for Kingston on seed saving and exchanging. Carol and Robert Mouck delivered an enlightening talk, along with others speaking on seed issues, locally and globally. The Sisters of Providence and the Heirloom Seed Sanctuary were represented by a display and staffing at both the Queens University ‘Food for Thought’ environmental conference and at the ‘GreenUP’ festival at the K-Rock Centre.

Thank you to Sister Shirley Morris, and to all Sisters, Associates and staff who participated in our Vernal Equinox ceremony at the Barn early on March 20th! The land and the seeds deserve our respect and prayers every day. ‘Our respectful use of the environment witnesses to the value of all creation.’