Explore: Seedy Saturday, mini-car race, guided walks and more

The ground may still be hard, but now is the time to plan for flowers and crops in this year’s garden grown from seeds available at the first Saanich Seedy Saturday.

The event, organized by Haliburton Community Organic Farm, is being held at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific.

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As many as 20 local vendors will be present with seeds, plants and plant starts. There will be a community swap table, as well as a children’s table.

Cook, gardener and author Don Genova, who wrote Food Artisans of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, is guest speaker and will talk about his favourite under-appreciated food plants to grow and cook.

Members of the Victoria Master Gardener Association will put on a free clinic.

There will be live music in the pavilion. Victoria singer/songwriter Steve Sturgess will perform his mix of folk, pop, blues, jazz and country.

Visitors will have an opportunity to view or draw ideas from the Horticulture Centre’s impressive winter garden.

Haliburton Community Organic Farm promotes community-supported, small-scale sustainable organic food production that is in harmony with local ecosystems.

Members sell their produce at an onsite farm stand and local farmers’ markets. Outreach programs include education and farm tours.

Admission to the event is $5. It includes entry to talks, the association’s clinic, entertainment and entry to the Horticulture Centre’s gardens.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with Genova speaking at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The horticulture centre is at 505 Quayle Rd.

For more information, go to haliburtonfarm.org or Facebook.

Miniature-car enthusiasts on the grid for indoor races

You can see almost 230 brightly coloured radio-controlled race cars and their owners compete for trophies and bragging rights as Victoria hosts a race in the Western Canadian Indoor Championship Series from Friday to Sunday.

The Victoria stop is the biggest event of the eight-race series, which has events in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

The local race, in its fourth year, typically attracts entries from Western Canada, the Pacific Northwest and, this year, from as far as Texas.

The Victoria event is hosted by the Island Radio Operated Car Club, which has about 30 members.

“It is the pinnacle race of the series,” said Luke Pitman, one of the organizers of the event. “It is recognized as one of the top four must-go races.”

The cars will compete in eight classes: Touring 17.5, Touring Mod, 12th scale 13.5, 12th scale Mod, WorldGT 10.5, CTA 21.5, Tamiya Mini and F1 Rubber 21.5. The R/C cars will compete on a 30-by-15-metre racing carpet with Clik-Trak barrier system.

The hobby sees miniature car enthusiasts, from 10 to 60-plus, participate in races indoors on carpet in the winter and outdoors on asphalt in the summer. Some have been involved in the hobby for nearly 30 years. Several former national champions live in Victoria.

“It’s an awesome hobby,” said Pitman, who has been racing for more than three years.

“You get to meet a lot of cool people.” Admission to the event is free. You can rub shoulders with the more than 100 contestants.

Lower-end radio-controlled cars can be purchased for as low as $200 (plus accessories), said Pitman. There are always good used high-end vehicles for sale by club members who like to upgrade their equipment every year.

Anyone curious about the hobby can show up at the group’s Thursday meetings and ask members to lend them a spare car to try out for the night.

The schedule for this weekend’s event includes practice from 3 to 10 p.m. on Friday and qualifying rounds between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Saturday.

There are qualifiers between 7:15 and 11:15 a.m. and finals between 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The event takes place at the Mary Winspear Centre, 2243 Beacon Ave., Sidney.

For more information, go to wcics.ca or irocc.ca for your local club.

Guided walks feature birds and ancient rock carvings

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to walk off some of that Christmas cheer, you’re in luck — the CRD Regional Parks has two interesting guided walks to introduce all members of the family to the great outdoors this weekend.

The unmistakable rat-a-tat-tat you hear in the woods is the sound of a woodpecker. At the Wonderful Woodpeckers program on Saturday, you can find out all about the birds from a CRD Regional Parks naturalist, who will also serve as a guide on the walk.

By the end of the walk, you will have learned how to identify the area’s different woodpeckers by sight, sound and habits.

There will be two sessions to accommodate different age groups. The early walk, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. will be longer and geared towards adults. A later walk, at 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., is suitable for people of all ages.

The programs take place at the Francis/King Regional Park in Saanich. Meet at the Nature Centre off Munn Road.

Did you know there are petroglyphs — prehistoric rock carvings — in Sooke?

Discover the stories in stone at Pictures of the Past, a guided walk that is suitable for children eight and over, and adults, on Sunday.

The two-hour walk with a CRD Regional Parks naturalist takes people along the scenic coastline of the East Sooke Regional Park to the site of the ancient rock engravings made by early inhabitants of the area.

The event takes place between 1 and 3 p.m. on Sunday at the park in East Sooke.

Meet at the information kiosk at the Aylard Farm parking lot off Becher Bay Road.

Wear sturdy hiking footwear and dress for the weather. The program will take place rain or shine.

Admission is free for both events. Try to arrive 10 minutes before the start of the program. Please leave pets at home.

For more information, go to crd.bc.ca/parks.

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