The Coast News Group
Five-year-old Steven Heaton from Oceanside gets ready to plant a sunflower seed. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene

Seed swap party gathers community around garden

CARLSBAD — The city of Carlsbad’s Harold E. Smerdu Community Garden brimmed with green thumb enjoyment Feb. 11 while gardeners hosted its first Seed Swap Party. On-site gardeners, visitors and children flowed to the garden for some planting and seed trading fun.The casual, afternoon event attracted more than 100 guests both young and old.

Members of the Harold E. Smerdu Garden Committee, Joe Berbrick, Bill Lanphear, Roger Roth, Patrice Smerdu and Mary Ann Dolan enjoying the day. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene
Patrice Smerdu, spokeswoman for the community garden, said several of its new gardeners asked if anyone would share seeds. In previous years, this was done informally but that all changed this year. The gardeners decided to throw a party, and for those who love to plant and harvest, it was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up.

“A packet of seeds often holds more than can be used by one person and sharing provides an opportunity to save money and perhaps try something new,” Smerdu said. “It was especially wonderful for our new gardeners as they got free seeds and made new friends.”

An array of seeds were displayed on a long, rectangular table and both visitors and gardeners sifted through a goldmine of floral and vegetable growing prospects.

The list included spaghetti squash, soybean seeds, sweat pees, corn, tomatoes, fava beans, lettuce, sunflowers, snapdragons, violets, marigolds and more.

The children made origami pots from recycled newspapers. From there, they dipped their hands into fresh soil and planted a sunflower seed.

Students from Jefferson Elementary, Sam Carter, Andrew Arreola, and Sebastian Arteaga spend some time at the garden. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene

Also on hand were informative composting demos, seed-saving tips, and updates on earth boxes.

The Carlsbad Community Gardens Collaborative was also on hand for the day. “The Carlsbad Community Gardens Collaborative is a big supporter of the garden,” Smerdu said. “They have a primary goal of getting additional community gardens for Carlsbad.”

Event goers also had the opportunity to see the upgrades at the garden such as new fencing, clean up, seed swap supplies, and mulch thanks to the Jenny Craig donation it received last year.

Smerdu also wanted to thank her fellow garden committee members Bill Lanphear, Joe Berbrick, Mary Ann Dolan and Roger Roth for making the afternoon run so smoothly.

Three-year-old Darlin Bird of Carlsbad leaves the garden with planted goodies. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene