Seed Exchange Coming November 22nd!

The Hilltown Seed Saving Network is pleased to announce its third annual Fall Seed Exchange, on Saturday, November 22nd at the Community House, 33 Main Street, 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.

In fact, the main event will be preceded by an introductory seed saving workshop from 1 to 2pm, taught by experienced seed saver Sadie Stull.

The seed exchange itself will run from 2:00 to 5:00 pm (see the detailed schedule of events below), and will include a run down of interesting results from the seed saving projects many of us worked on this summer.  Tevis Robertson-Goldberg of Crabapple Farm will give a talk on saving seed from biennial vegetables such as beets and carrots, Amy Pulley will discuss saving and propagating wildflower seed, and Lynne Paterson will demonstrate making sprouts.  And, of course, 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 11:30am to drop off seed.  We ask people to refrain from taking seed until 3:15pm; this will give us time to organize and display people’s contributions.  There will be exhibits, presentations, and yummy food to keep you entertained while you are waiting!

Also, we encourage everyone who is bringing seed to the event to list it online using our Virtual Seed Bank here: 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.org; or contact Sadie at 413-475-2692, or Michael at 413-358-6919 or alterman@speakeasy.net.

Schedule of Events

1:00 to 2:00  For beginners or those who want a refresher:  Take our introductory seed saving workshop, with Sadie Stull.  Sadie is a homesteader, an experienced seed saver, and an engaging teacher.

2:00 to 2:30  Arrive, drop off seeds, have a snack, schmooze.  Check out a seed sprouting exhibit presented by Lynne Paterson, learn how to use our Virtual Seed Bank, and browse information about the Non-GMO Working Group, Raspberry Hill Community Garden, Master Gardeners, and more.

2:30 to 3:15  Gather for a presentation of interesting results of this summer’s seed saving projects, a talk on saving biennial vegetables by Tevis Robertson-Goldberg of Crabapple Farm, a discussion of saving wildflower seed led by Amy Pulley, and a sprouting demonstration by Lynne Paterson .

3:15 to 5:00  Finally!  Have a go at the seed tables–we are expecting dozens of varieties of many different garden crops and wildflower species.  HSSN members will also be around to answer seed saving questions.

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Seed Saving Workshop

Tevis Robertson-Goldberg will be giving a Seed Saving workshop this Saturday, March 22nd, from 12:30-1:15 at the Northampton Winter Farmer’s Market at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in Northampton. This event is in association with the Florence Organic Community Garden signups and gardener meeting hosted by Grow Food Northampton as well as a food swap hosted by Valley Food Swap.

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Winter Book Reading Club

The first meeting for the Seed Saving Network’s Winter Reading Club will be on Thursday, Dec. 12th at 7:00, in the Sustainability Library, upstairs at the Old Creamery Co-op in Cummington. We will be reading Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties by Carol Deppe. We’re encouraging people to buy their copy at the Creamery, as they special ordered a bunch for us.

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Virtual Seed Bank!

The Hilltown Seed Saving Network now has a Virtual Seed Bank so we can list seeds to share, search for local seeds we need, or even just share information about what we’re growing, what works and what doesn’t.

Visit the Virtual Seed Bank, sign up and take advantage of this great community resource! Not sure how to use it? Download the user manual, watch the video, or email Rose or email Coureton for assistance.

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Seed Exchange Coming Soon!

The Hilltown Seed Saving Network is pleased to announce its second annual Fall Seed Exchange, on Saturday, November 23rd at the Community House, 33 Main Street, 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.

In fact, this year, the main event will be preceded by an introductory seed saving workshop from 12 noon to 1pm, taught by Tevis Robertson-Goldberg of Crabapple Farm.

The seed exchange itself will run from 1:00 to 4:00 pm (see the detailed schedule of events below), and will include a fun and interactive preview of our plans for next year.  And, of course, 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 10:30am to drop off seed.  We ask people to refrain from taking seed until 2:15pm; this will give us time to organize and display people’s contributions.  There will be exhibits, presentations, and yummy food to keep you entertained while you are waiting!

Also, we encourage everyone who is bringing seed to the event to list it online using our Virtual Seed Bank here: 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.org; or contact Sadie at 413-634-5013, or Michael at 413-358-6919 or alterman@speakeasy.net.

Schedule of Events

12:00 to 1:00  For beginners or those who want a refresher:  Take our introductory seed saving workshop, with Tevis Robertson-Goldberg of Crabapple Farm in Chesterfield.   Tevis is an experienced and knowledgeable seed-saver, whose farm operations include producing seed commercially for Fedco Seeds.

1:00 to 1:30  Arrive, drop off seeds, have a snack, schmooze.  Check out a seed sprouting exhibit, as well as informational booths of the Non-GMO Working Group, Raspberry Hill Community Garden, Master Gardeners, and more.

1:30 to 2:15  Gather for a presentation about our plans for next year, including our Winter Book Group, which will read and discuss Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties by Carol Deppe.  We are planning for this part of the afternoon to be fun and interactive, as well as informative.

2:15 to 4:00  Finally!  Have a go at the seed tables–last year, there were four large tables filled dozens of varieties of many different garden crops and wildflower species.  HSSN members will also be around to answer seed saving questions.

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Summer Workshops

Seed Saving: Beets & Brassicas, Sunday, June 30th 2pm-4pm.

This workshop will give an overview of seed saving practices and theories, with a focus on two families of crops: chenopods and brassicas, both of which are dry seed crops, and are often biennials.

Saving your own seed doesn’t have to be intimidating. Relying on commercial sources of seed prevents you from accessing many varieties that may be ideal for your farm or garden. In addition, saving seed allows you to become a breeder, selecting for traits that are important to you that professional breeders may not be thinking about.

We will look at and talk about several different seed saving projects that we are doing this summer, including beets, chard, arugula, and turnips. We will look at a few different seed crops in different stages of growth, to see how different plants mature. Overwintering, selection, isolation, and harvest and seed cleaning methods will all be discussed.

This workshop will be given by Tevis Robertson-Goldberg at Crabapple Farm, 100 Bryant Street, Chesterfield.

Suggested donation: $10

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As you grow, keep seed saving in mind!

While you’re growing this summer, don’t forget to save up seed for this fall’s Seed Exchange!  It will be on Saturday, November 23rd, 2013, at the Cummington Community House, 33 Main St., Cummington, MA.  Bring your seeds and see what your neighbors have been growing.  It’s a great time to share seeds and knowledge about what’s working and what’s being adapted to our local climate.

And as you start to store up your seeds, don’t forget to list them in our new Virtual Seed Bank.  Whether you have enough to share or not, it’s a great way for us to organize our efforts and share knowledge as a community. The Virtual Seed Bank was developed by volunteer code developers Lou Franco and Beryl Hoffman along with web designer Rose Wessel at the Hack for Western MA Hackathon this summer.

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