The Coast News Group
From left: Raymond Morales, Carmen Contreras and Adriana Brunner take part in the annual seed swap event at the Harold E. Smerdu Community Garden in Carlsbad. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene

Seed and garden tips swapped at annual event

CARLSBAD — The Harold E. Smerdu Community Garden annual Seed Swap Party was the ultimate hub for current and future gardening enthusiasts. 

Its Sept. 29 theme, “Bringing Home the Garden,” drew in children and adults alike.

The community event was held in tandem with National Public Lands Day.

Smerdu Community Garden, a friendly locale, educates individuals on year-round gardening while showcasing interactive experiences for elementary school tours.

Bringing Home the Garden was brimful of seed and plant swaps, garden tours, guest speakers and demonstrations, and tidbits of advice among gardeners.

Gretchen M. Ashton, treasurer of the Carlsbad Community Gardens Collaborative, said the day was about sharing the garden with the community.

“Children and adults alike can enjoy swapping seeds and plants, learning about composting and vermiculture (worms), interacting with knowledgeable gardeners, touring Carlsbad’s historic community garden, signing up for a poster contest, and taking home goodie bags,” Ashton said.

And everybody did just that.

Ashton shared that the day was also an important one where children would be taught about eating well, how to grow healthy food, and how to care for the environment.

She described each event entity as a positive message presented with unique interactive demonstrations.

The community gardeners, also on hand, provided a wealth of information for visitors.

Patrice Smerdu, garden committee spokeswoman, said she hoped the seed swap party at some point would become a biannual event in the fall and spring.

“Carlsbad is blessed with year-round gardening weather and we sometimes fail to take advantage of it,” Smerdu said.

The community garden continues to make tremendous strides as being a family-friendly destination.

Smerdu wants people to know that it’s essential for families to know where their food comes from.

“Healthy, local food is vital to our community,” she said. “If children learn about growing their food when young, they will hopefully carry that forward as adults. We know there is an obesity epidemic and gardening is a great way to combat that both with exercise and healthy eating.”

And besides, Smerdu said, gardening is fun.

This year, Ashton was thrilled to have Diane Hollister as their guest speaker. Hollister, knowledgeable in the garden, spoke to a crowd about “Three Choices for the Fall Garden,” which highlighted types of fall vegetables while touching upon different ways to mulch the garden.

The day was ideal for novice gardeners, as well.

“The Smerdu Community Garden inspires residents to give gardening a try,” Ashton said. “This day is an opportunity to interact one-on-one with seasoned successful gardeners and ask specific questions.”

Ashton pointed out that gardening is for the whole family, the ultimate source of good nutrition, and the gateway to many healthful and interpersonal experiences.

Smerdu and Ashton also extended a warmhearted thanks to the Carlsbad branch of Point Loma Credit Union for being their generous event sponsors. And with the help of Jenny Craig’s recent donation of $9,200, the event shined even brighter.

“This event is a wonderful opportunity to come see what we’re all about,” Smerdu said. “We also welcome others in the larger community to come see how great a community garden can be.”