Gardener Mary-Alice Johnson will share her vast knowledge on seeds. (Contributed photo)

GARDEN CLUB: Seeds – Sow’em, Save’em, Grow’em

Sooke Garden Club discusses seeds at its March 25 meeting

Cory McInnis | Contributed

Every gardener has his or her unique relationship with seeds.

Before I became interested in gardening, I can remember watching my father painstakingly plant lobelia and marigold seeds into fine seed starter mix, and thinking, “Why would you spend so much time with something so tinny tiny.” Then the small seeds began to germinate, and I slowly saw the fruits of his labour.

Over the past 10 years, I have been lucky in working at different greenhouses.

My first experience was when we lived in Northern Alberta. Being the new girl on the block, I was given the lowest labour intensive jobs. Filling up pots and packs with soil, planting the small nursery plugs, labelling the plant, placing it on the appropriate bench, and repeat until all the plugs were planted.

As I learned over the years, seeding was given or held by the top dog, or boss if you will. There was a schedule for each variety of seed. Every seed with its own growing schedule. Planted to soon, it would become leggy; planted to late no one would buy the plant as it hadn’t had time to grow and show off its beauty.

Even though I never held the responsibly of head seeder, there was the joy of listening to new gardeners getting so excited when coming into the greenhouse and seeing all the racks of seeds. Wanting to try them all, and knowing they will surely end up with hundreds of baby plants, with nowhere to transplant them. Only having to give them away to friends and family or learn for next season to choose less.

Saving your seeds from season to season not only helps with cost, you also gain the appreciation for the whole plant life cycle.

I plant sweet peas every spring in memory of my grandmother. My sweet peas that I have saved from the fall, get planted on Easter, soaked overnight and planted either indoors or directly into the soil if warm enough, so I know they are on their way.

For March the Sooke Garden Club is welcoming Mary-Alice Johnson from ALM Organic Farm, located in Sooke. Johnson’s has been the owner and operator since 1986.

Twenty-five years ago Johnson started Full Circle Seeds with more than 250 varieties of seeds available for sale. ALM is a teaching farm and there have been over 200 young people that have studied at the ALM farm, with many going on to run their own working farms.

Johnson will talk about propagating, both how to care and save seeds/seedlings, and the reasons why it’s important to save seed.

Please join us March 25, 7 p.m. at the St. Rose of Lima Church on Townsend Road. Also in mid-April, date to be announced, there will be a viewing of Ann Boquist’s Pink Fawn Lillie’s, weather permitting.

New members are always welcome at the Sooke Garden Club. Visit our website at for more information, or email us at


Cory McInnis writes for the Sooke Garden Club.

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