Seedy Sunday 2019

Seedy Sunday 2019 did not disappoint with a day packed with interesting stalls, events and people. Over 2,000 happy punters had a great time visiting the seed swap, with over 2,500 packets of seeds to choose from, and visiting the 70 stall holders who were showing, telling and selling all things gardening and wildlife related.

We were busy on our BHOGG stall all day with people coming to renew membership or join for the first time, buy wonderful organic feed and to ask expert advice on organic gardening. Seedy Sunday is an important event for BHOGG and organic gardeners as seeds saved locally often have adaptations to local soil conditions and microclimates, making them more likely to grow well and need less support. Seed swaps also provide a much wider choice of varieties than it is possible to get from seed companies, and although they may not always be strictly organic, their local heritage is an added boon.

Kate Harrison from the Seedy Sunday committee told us what she loves about the event:

“I’ve been coming to Seedy Sunday almost as long as I’ve lived in Brighton – 17 years! If you’d told me back in 2003 that I might be on the organising committee one day, I’d have been amazed. What I love about Seedy Sunday is that every year I learn something new, I buy some eye-opening plant (this year: Sea Buckthorn and Chilean Guava), and I meet some fantastic people. The atmosphere at Seedy Sunday is so special – full of people saying hello to old friends, making new ones, and talking about their common passions – gardening and wildlife.”

Seedy Sunday was organised by around 50 volunteers this year that set up, packed down and helped on the day. They always welcome new volunteers, so get in touch at their website for more information on how to be involved in next year’s event.

If you didn’t get along to the BHOGG staff to renew your membership or join, then don’t forget you can do so online on our website.

Images from top left (all images copyright of Jenni Cresswell, except where stated otherwise): BHOGG banner, Pennard Plant’s potatoes (image courtesy of Fenella Burns), Seedy Sunday seed packets ready for swapping (image courtesy of Fenella Burns), Infinity’s potatoes (image courtesy of Fenella Burns), Thomas Etty’s heritage seed catalogue, Pesticide Action Network’s Pesticide Free City badges, BHOGG leaflet, Stanmer Organics’ willow decorations, Seedy Sunday bunting, The Monday Group’s bird boxes.

Seedy Sunday is tomorrow!

It runs from 10.30 to 4.00, at BHASVIC, 205 Dyke Road, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 6EG. See the map here. Please note there is NO parking for the public on site. For information on public transport click here.

Check out the brilliant programme this year, with details of the great line-up of speakers, including the local author of The Wildlife Gardener, Kate Bradbury; and a local Gardeners’ Question time.

There are fun children’s activities, lots of brilliant exhibitors selling and telling about all things horticultural and wild, and the lovely Infinity Foods will be upstairs with their café selling lunch and cakes.

At the heart of Seedy Sunday are the wonderful seed swap tables – here’s some more information about how it works. Come and have a browse whether you have seeds to swap or not – you can make a donation of 50p per packet if you don’t have anything to exchange. We’re also happy to have Betsy’s Bakes providing refreshments in the seed swap room.

Have fun and see you there!

February Top Tips

Soil.jpeg1.  Plan your plot: crop rotation; put crops that need regular picking near a path; ones that need less attention (spuds, onions, leeks) can be in less accessible areas

2.  Tidy overgrown patches (brambles, ivy, etc.), but don’t be too tidy to allow an overwintering shelter for beneficial creatures

3.  Finish planting & pruning of deciduous trees, shrubs (but not those that flower before midsummer) & hedges (birds start nesting soon so don’t delay on hedges)

4.  Get your seeds & spuds at Seedy Sunday

5.  Get a couple of beds ready (weed & feed) for March planting of early spuds & onions.

Do this by taking out any overwintering weeds and adding a layer of compost or manure to the soil’s surface in a mulch. If possible do this when there is a sunny day and the ground is damp – as a mulch ‘seals’ the soil, it is better to seal in warm and moist conditions, rather than cold and wet ones. If the weather doesn’t oblige, place a cloche (cover) over the prepared soil to help warm it. You don’t have to invest in expensive cloches, you could source a large piece of clear plastic from some packaging – ask friends and family if you don’t have any – and do your bit for keeping some plastic out of the environment!

European Union Pesticide Authorisation – a helpful summary

wintergreensingreenhouseIn November 2017 the European Union (EU) agreed to grant a 5 year licence for the use of glyphosate* within the EU. This came after 18 months of debate between the agrochemical industry, which wanted a 15-year renewal of the licence for the use of glyphosate within the EU, and individuals, NGOs and environmental organisations who wanted the substance banned. The European Commission and those Member States that voted in favour of renewal chose to ignore the European Parliament and the 1,320,517 European citizens who signed a petition to ban glyphosate, reform the EU pesticide** approval process, and set mandatory targets to reduce pesticide use in the EU.

The European Parliament then set up a Special Committee on the authorisation procedure for pesticides. The first recommendations to address the issue have now been made. Possibly the most important recommendation is the proposal that the public should be granted access to the research submitted in order to authorise a pesticide.  Currently the data and information provided by the chemical companies (such as Bayer and Syngenta) is seen only by the authorisation body and is too often regarded by them as definitive. The new recommendation provides scientists and other specialists in the field a chance to analyse the data provided by manufacturers.

During this period of open access stakeholders will be able not only to comment on the findings, but also to provide additional existing data.  This allows for all relevant information to be taken into account – environmental impact, health studies etc. – which previously the authorisers have not been able to do.

The Committee also recommended that post-market evaluation should be strengthened.  This means follow-up research in real life use of the pesticide. It is hoped that they will launch an epidemiological study on the impact of pesticides on human health, for instance. Perhaps they will also look at the ‘cocktail effect’ of using a sequence of chemicals throughout the crops’ growing life.  Normally each chemical is approved in isolation – which is not how farmers and growers use them. The Belgian Greens MEP, Bart Staes said:

“We ask for full transparency with regard to the studies used for the assessment. To make them more independent and based on scientific evidence, to avoid conflicts of interests, to fully test active substances, to thoroughly test pesticide products, including the cumulative effects, and for stronger risk management measures.”

The recommendations were adopted with 23 votes to 5 and 1 abstention. The full EU House voted on the report during the plenary session of 14-17th January 2019, with a resounding majority for adoption of the report (For: 526 (79%), Against: 66 (10%), Abstain: 72 (11%)).

Notes:

*Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Round Up

**“Pesticide” is also used to describe herbicides, which includes glyphosate.

Article written by Mouse

See our article on local impact on ban here.

One week until Seedy Sunday!

A big shout out to our fantastic range of exhibitors and stall holders this year:   All your familiar favourites will be there, including our lovely sponsors Infinity Foods with their organic seed potatoes and shallot sets, The Heritage Seed Library, The Seed Co-operative, Thomas Etty, Pennard Plants and Edulis Nursery.  

They are joined by some newcomers to Seedy Sunday 2019 including Solseed Landscapes, who offer organic edible and ecological landscaping services using permaculture design as their guiding principle;  the Sussex National Garden Scheme, who will be telling us about the Open Garden Scheme for 2019; and Vital Seeds, an independent seed company based in Devon selling open-pollinated vegetable, herb and flower seed for home-gardeners and small scale market growers.

We also have a wonderful line-up of speakers, with a great range of talks including Kate Bradbury, author of “The Wildlife Gardener” and our very own local Gardeners’ Question Time. The speaker line-up is here:

There’ll be some great activities for children with their parents or caregivers, including a fun new activity making Ecobricks; decorating seed envelopes, and face-painting.

Seedy Sunday is Sunday February 3rd and runs from 10.30 to 4.00pm. It’s at BHASVIC, 205 Dyke Road, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 6EG. See the map here. Please note there is NO parking for the public on site. See www.seedysunday.org for information on public transport.

Seedy Sunday is two weeks away! Here’s some more information about what’s happening on the 3rd of February.

Venue: BHASVIC, 205 Dyke Rd, Hove, BN3 6EG. £3 entry, kids free!  10:30am-4pm

Who’s speaking at Seedy Sunday this year?

We have a mix of old and new faces in the Copper Café at BHASVIC covering some fascinating topics associated with plants and growing:

  • Opening our speaker programme are local herbalists Alice Bettany and Jessie Martelhof. Learn about the medicinal values of numerous common weeds and cottage garden herbs that you will no doubt already be familiar with. They will be talking about the history of their use, how to safely identify, dry and make them into herbal preparations. Take home a few simple recipe ideas which you can make yourself as food, medicine or cosmetics
  • The wonderful Kate Bradbury, author of The Bumblebee Flies Anyway, a story about Kate’s experience creating a wildlife garden in her Brighton backyard. Kate will discuss foodchains and habitat creation, especially in urban areas like Brighton
  • Our local Gardeners’ Question Time, with a panel of experts ready to take your questions
  • Adrian Ely from the University of Sussex, who spoke last year, is back again this year presenting the development of Bioleft, an open and collaborative system for seed innovation that has been developed by a group of organisations in Argentina.  Against a background of increasing patenting of seeds and genetic resources, Adrian outlines one of the responses that is emerging around the world: open source seed systems.
  • Our closing speakers, Pesticide Action Network UK will be launching their campaign to address the use of pesticides used right here on our doorstep in Brighton and Hove. These pesticides are unnecessary and there are plenty of non-chemical alternatives. Lots of councils have already banned these harmful chemicals and it’s time that Brighton & Hove did the same. Nick Mole, Policy Officer, Josie Cohen, Head of Policy and Campaigns, PAN UK, will be joined by Steve Peters, the award-winning gardener at The Level to discuss the ways in which he has managed to maintain this very public, green space without pesticides for a number of years now. Come and find out more about the campaign to end the use of pesticides in Brighton & Hove and how you can get involved.

What’s going on in the Children’s area?

We have some fun and creative activities for children to enjoy with their parents or caregivers, such as pebble painting, making seed packets and ‘seedy’ bookmarks. There will also be facepainting, and the chance to learn about and make Ecobricks, the new craze to hit Brighton! This brilliant idea involves packing non-recyclable plastic waste into plastic bottles including bags, labels, cling film, tape, sweet wrappers, yoghurt pots, etc. When it is cut small and packed tight it becomes weighty and can then be used to build small home and garden constructions with.

Be inspired for the gardening year at Seedy Sunday!

A round up of what’s happening @ Seedy Sunday, 3rd February

Seedy Sunday is less than a month away! Here’s a summary of what’s happening on the 3rd of February.

Venue: BHASVIC, 205 Dyke Rd, Hove, BN3 6EG. £3 entry, kids free!

The Seed Swap

At the heart of Seedy Sunday is the giant seed swap table. Bring seeds to swap saved from last year’s crops. Seed saving experts and gardeners will be on hand to offer all the advice you need to choose and grow your seeds. You can collect Seedy Sunday envelopes from Infinity Foods in Brighton.

No seeds to swap? Simply make a 50p donation at the seed table. We have already prepared over 2500 packets of seeds to get us started on the day!

Learn something new with a diverse range of speakers and talks

This year we have herbalists, gardeners, authors, university lecturers, and an international NGO speaking about weeds as medicine, wildlife gardening, sustainable food production, and pesticides.

We are also hosting a Local Gardeners’ Question Time featuring:

Joshua the Gardener – after the popularity of his ‘no dig’ talk last year and the queue of people waiting to ask him questions, we are delighted to have Joshua join the panel.  He has lots of advice to share about no dig gardening, organic gardening and design.

Chris Smith from Pennard Plants – another Seedy Sunday favourite. Pennard plants specialise in heritage and heirloom seeds and Chris is a gold medal Chelsea flower show winner, accomplished speaker and potato expert.

Ros Loftin is our seed saving expert and is the heart and soul of the seed swap since 2012.  A trained horticulturist, she has been saving seeds for the past 10 years, and each year brings between 20-30 different varieties of open-pollinated heritage tomatoes to swap on the seed table.

The panel with be chaired by our very own Alan Phillips!  He has been involved with Seedy Sunday since the beginning (back in 2002!), including serving 5 years as the Chair.  He is an integral part of Brighton & Hove’s vibrant organic gardening community, providing expert advice to many novice organic gardeners on our Community allotment.

A world of discovery in the Market Place

Visit more than 50 stalls from specialist growers, seed merchants, charities and community groups and more.

Children’s activities galore!

As ever we have some fun and inspiring activities for children and their parents or caregivers. Making decorations, planting seeds and discovering how to make an ‘ecobrick’ from plastic waste, there’ll be plenty to keep young people interested on the day.

Infinity Foods and Cafe

A special thanks to Infinity Foods who generously sponsor us every year, display our posters and give away our seed envelopes in their shop on North Road, Brighton.  They run a fantastic stall on the day selling organic seed potatoes, and the award winning Infinity Cafe will be upstairs to serve teas, coffees, cakes and lunches.

Be inspired for the gardening year at Seedy Sunday!

Save our soil: Winter is a good time to think about nurturing our soil

FUNCTIONS of SOIL

  • Physical support for plants [anchorage]; rooting environment; holds air, water & nutrients essential to plant growth; houses organisms necessary for making soil suitable to support plants
  • Well­-structured soil both holds water & allows it to drain.

It may become compacted & waterlogged if walked on when wet: this stops air from being available to plant roots & soil organisms & they die.

Mulch protects soil surface, keeps it warm & moist, keeps weeds down & nourishes soil life & plants; apply to moist [not frozen] soil whenever you can.

Garden compost, leaf mould & farm-yard manure, mushroom compost, spent hops, composted bark/wood chips/prunings, municipal green waste, hay/straw, & worm compost are all good sources of organic matter & can be applied as a mulch.

Plants need a variety of mineral elements for healthy growth & development; soil with plenty of organic matter [ or clay] holds onto these in a form easily absorbed by the plant; lighter soils [not clay-based] lose some nutrients through LEACHING by rain: Nitrogen & potassium [K] are most vulnerable & may need replacing. Seaweed is a good source of trace minerals.

Humus is the end result of decaying plant & animal matter, broken down by soil organisms: worms, insects, fungi & bacteria. It can hold 90% of its weight in H2O; it attracts & holds nutrients available to plants & prevents leaching.  It binds mineral particles into crumbs, thus improving structure [pores > air, H2O]. It improves all soil types, & it encourages the presence of micro-organisms, worms etc.

Green manures: protect & feed soil, improve structure & provide habitat for predators; very good in winter [but too late to sow now], early spring & late summer when beds are empty.

Green Manu

Article By Ruth Urbanowicz