7th Annual Fall Seed Swap is coming!

save the date!
Hilltown Fall Seed Swap – Saturday, November 17th 2018 | 1-4pm

At the Cummington Community House, 33 Main Street

 

It’s time again to gather those seeds and share the abundance of future life and food and culture with your friends and neighbors!

seedhand

Come and join us for the Seventh Annual Hilltown Fall Seed Swap!
More details to follow including special guests and presentations.
All are welcome – you do not need to bring seed to attend!
The suggested donation is a sliding scale of $5 – $10.

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Welcome Spring! Annual Hilltown Plant Swap set for May 20th

seedlingsThe Hilltown Seed Saving Network is pleased to announce its seventh annual Spring Plant Swap on Sunday, May 20th from 10:30 to 1:30pm at the Community House in Cummington (33 Main St).  Bring your extra seeds, seedlings and perennial plant divisions to share.  Get new plants for your garden and meet fellow gardeners, seed savers, and pollinator-enthusiasts.  You won’t leave empty handed!

Please note that you don’t have to bring plants to come to this event.  We welcome people at all levels of experience, including those who have never gardened before.

The event will begin at 10:30am.  You will have plenty of time to browse and help yourself to the dozens of home grown varieties of tomatoes, beans, kale, wildflowers, and many other crops, as well as perennial plant divisions including pollinator-friendly and medicinal plants.  If you cannot attend the plant swap but wish to drop off plants, you may do so any time after 10am.

Also, we encourage everyone who is bringing seed to the event to list it online using our Virtual Seed Bank at http://seednetwork.herokuapp.com.  Once you have registered (a quick and easy process), you will be able to browse varieties that other people in the Hilltowns are saving, and perhaps bringing to the Plant Swap.

The suggested donation for this event is a sliding scale of $5 – $10.  For more information contact Sadie at 413- 475- 2692.

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Get into grafting at the first Hilltown Winter Scion Swap!

Dreaming of spring?  Always wanted to grow some fruit?  Get into grafting this year with the Hilltown Seed Saving Network!  Beginning and experienced grafters are all welcome at this event.  You do not need to bring scionwood to attend!  This is a great opportunity to learn from local neighbors and get started in the art of grafting and orchard management.

winterscionswap

 

Alan Surprenant, a local orchardist, will be presenting on scionwood collection and storage and offer tips on grafting at 1:30pm.  He offers local workshops in pruning and grafting at his orchard in Ashfield.  Come learn about grafting and go home with some local scionwood so you too can enjoy the bounty of a home orchard!

What is scionwood?

Scions (pronounced “sigh-ons”) are cuttings from the first year growth on a fruit tree, typically the tips from branches or watersprouts.  Fruit trees do not reproduce themselves in their seeds, but we can multiply our favorite varieties by taking small cuttings and grafting or attaching them onto the branches or rootstocks of other trees in the same family.  The wood gradually heals together and can even become productive sooner as the existing root system feeds the new branch.

How to cut and store your scionwood:

1. In January or February, select a straight stem, pencil size in diameter, from last year’s growth

2. Cut an 8-10″ piece with sharp pruning clippers

3. Label the variety name and wrap in slightly dampened material such as shredded newspaper or paper towels

4. Store in a plastic bag

5. Keep in a cool (not freezing) place such as a refrigerator until you are ready to graft in April or May

Want to learn more?

Check out these resources and you’ll be well on your way to scion success!

  • Video on cutting scionwood by Stephen Hayes
  • An Extension Article from Michigan State University
  • How-To from an Apple Nursery in North Carolina

 

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Amy Pulley on helping our pollinators at the upcoming Fall Seed Exchange, Nov 18, 2017

We are excited to announce that Amy Pulley of Wing and a Prayer Nursery in Cummington will speak at 1pm to kick off the sixth annual Hilltown Seed Exchange on Saturday, November 18th, 1-4pm at the Cummington Community House!

For the last several years, Amy has been experimenting with growing native perennial plants from seed.  She also became highly concerned about the declining populations of some of our native bee and butterfly species, and has created a local nursery focused on plants that serve the needs of native pollinators by providing nectar, pollen and larval forage.  She is actively working to restore pollinator habitats throughout the area and educate gardeners, children and families about how to support pollinators by planting pollinator plants in their yards and public spaces.

Join us for this wonderful, informative, and important talk before sharing and swapping and seeds with your neighbors at this year’s fall seed exchange.  See you there!

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6th Annual Seed Exchange 2017 – Saturday, November 18th

SAVE THE DATE!

We are excited to announce the date for this year’s Fall Seed Exchange!  Join us Saturday, November 18th to share and swap seeds, meet fellow gardeners, and learn more about saving your own seeds.  Look for a schedule of events, details and highlights forthcoming.

The next meeting of the Hilltown Seed Saving Network Steering Committee will be held on Thursday 9/28 from 6-8pm in the Sustainability Library upstairs at the Creamery.  All are welcome!  We will be firming up plans for the fall Seed Exchange, and discussing the format and structure of future monthly meetings.

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2016 Hilltown Seed Exchange Coming November 19th!

The Hilltown Seed Saving Network is pleased to announce its fifth annual Seed Exchange, on Saturday, November 19th from 1:00 to 4:00pm at the Community House in Cummington.  Learn to save your own garden seed, get answers to your seed saving questions, and exchange seed that you’ve saved with your friends and neighbors!

Please note that you don’t have to bring seed to come to this event.  We welcome people at all levels of experience, including those who have never saved seed before.

The event will begin at 1pm, with demonstrations and activities facilitated by experienced seed savers.  This part of the day is especially for beginning seed savers, but there should be something of interest for everyone.

At 2pm, Tevis Robertson-Goldberg of Crabapple Farm will speak on not just saving seed, but saving the best seed from a variety of popular garden crops; there will be plenty of time for questions from the audience.  Tevis has been generous enough to share his knowledge with our group from its beginnings, and we are excited to feature him again at this event.

The seed exchange itself will begin at 3:15, and there will be plenty of time to browse and help yourself to the dozens of home grown varieties of tomatoes, beans, kale, wildflowers, and many other crops.  This year, you can come to the Community House as early as 11:45am to drop off seed.

Also, we encourage everyone who is bringing seed to the event to list it online using our Virtual Seed Bank at http://seednetwork.herokuapp.com.  Once you have registered (a quick and easy process), you will be able to browse varieties that other people in the Hilltowns are saving, and bringing to the Seed Exchange.

The suggested donation for this event is a sliding scale of $5 – $10.  For more information, visit hilltownseeds.wordpress.com; or contact Sadie at 413-475-2692, or Michael at 413-358-6919 or alterman@speakeasy.net.

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HSSN Winter Gathering February 21st

The Hilltown Seed Saving Network is extending an invitation to our wider community to attend a Winter social potluck and semi-formal discussion of the future direction of our efforts.

The Spring and Fall annual seed swap events are popular and successful anchors of the HSSN annual calendar.  We all look forward to many more years of organizing these events.  However, after four years, HSSN is considering new directions for its efforts and revisiting some ongoing ideas that have not taken root but may still be viable.  Members of the larger gardening/farming/seed-saving community are strongly encouraged to come forth and help us get a better sense of what’s next.  Topics under current consideration include physical seed banks and seed libraries, the Virtual Seed Bank, outreach, education, community seed-saving projects and others.

FORMAT

1:00 Potluck/socializing/seed browsing

1:40 Opening remarks/state of the HSSN

1:50 Small group discussions

3:00 Takeaways in large group

POTLUCK INFO

Please bring a dish of tapas/munchies/finger food to share.

If possible, include your saved seeds, products thereof or other homegrown ingredients in your dish.

SEEDS

If you  have seeds to share at this time, please bring them.  If you have empty seed envelopes at home, please bring them, too, so you  have containers for collecting your new seeds.

PLEASE JOIN US.  YOUR INPUT IS SO IMPORTANT!

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