Seed saving as a rebellious act

Gardening can be successful in South Cariboo’s zone 3-4 growing season

By Nicole Chayka

Virmiculture, cold frames, farmscaping, heirlooms, companion planting, pit greenhouses have to do with what?


There are as many gardens as there are gardeners. There is the square-foot method, lasagna gardens, edible foresting, container planting, vertical gardening, permaculture, hugelkulture, herb spirals, and potato barrels to name a few, and what with spring around the corner, hopefully, you have picked one.

We, who live in the South Cariboo, are blessed with zone 3-4 growing season, which may seem like a challenge, but not when you know what grows here and what doesn’t. Dare I say we have an edge when it comes to cold hardy root vegetables?

The same cold snap in the fall that makes a green pepper cry mamma is also responsible for the sweetest tasting carrots.

Why lament over beefsteak tomatoes not making it when beets, cabbage, potatoes, kale, spinach, and parsnips are all too well suited for the Cariboo climate?

Your success starts with the right seeds.

Seeds do well when they have been conditioned through several generations to adapt to their environment, which is why varieties that do excellent on Salt Spring Island may not make it here in the Cariboo.

Seed exchanges between neighbours aid and abet the odds of how well something will grow in that, if it’s already doing well next door, then it will probably thrive in your raised bed, too.

This is why seed saving and seed exchanges are so important.

• Seed exchanges protect heirloom varieties and biodiversity.

• Seed exchanges keep a local seed bank going.

• Seed exchanges promote community.

• Seed saving creates food sovereignty and a cap on rising food prices.

• Seed Exchanges also take the fight to GMOs, so “Be a Rebel and Plant a Seed.”

If you would like to assist us in keeping track of what is grown around 100 Mile House, please go to the Rebel Garden Zone page at and sign up.

Also, drop by the Seed Exchange table all summer long at the local Farmers’ Market to give, take or exchange your seeds and let’s watch our veggie-versity grow!

Nicole Chayka is a South Cariboo Sustainability director and Rebel Garden Zone chair.