Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Seed Exchange Review

Kathy Tinius sent the following Seed Exchange review to the Burtonsville Garden Club and said okay to letting me share it with you all. I'm still sorting through the stack of evaluations. If you attended and want to comment or give suggestions for next year's event, please do so here or mail/email your evaluation forms in asap. Below is Kathy Tinius's review along with a couple pictures that our staff photographer, Drena Galaraza, took at the event:

I was able to attend the Washington Gardener Seed Exchange on Saturday and it was probably the best gardening deal in the area!!

The event was hosted by Kathy Jentz, the bubbly editor of Washington Gardener magazine, who kept the event light and friendly, but moving forward on a tight schedule with really good structure around the seed swap itself.

The afternoon began with check in, a goodie bag (loads of seeds!), and a welcome from Kathy. The first speaker was Gene Sumi, from Homestead Gardens, who gave a very informative talk about hardening off seedlings. It was the first time I absorbed how long this process should take (7 -10 days) and exactly how to do it (place the flat in cold sunshine for 30 minutes the first day, longer each subsequent day).

Then Mark Smallwood [pictured here] from Whole Foods Market spoke about companion planting – and about his long history working with an organic farm and as the refuse/recycling czar at Whole Foods. Mark is an ex-sports coach and you can tell – it was a rousing and very informative talk!

A gentleman from USDA (he was a last minute sub and I didn’t write down his name) [Bob Greisbach - KJ] gave an overview of how each of us small gardeners impacts the biodiversity and gene pool when we save seeds. The impact is both good (preserving old varieties) and bad (saving seeds of hybrids or non-representative varieties). Enlightening and really not preachy – loaded with science!

A delicious light break was provided by Whole Foods. Then it was time for show and tell—those who brought interesting seeds told the stories of them. Kathy introduced some of the special participants in the crowd.

Then it was time for the seed swap. It wasn’t necessary at all to bring in seeds (I didn’t!), although that would be fun. The group went up three times (in smaller groups) to select one packet of seeds each time; once this was done, it was a free for all for 15 minutes. Any leftover seeds were given to local groups. The varieties of seeds were very nice and not overwhelming. Some regular plants like marigolds, lettuces, sunflowers – some unusual plants like golden rain tree, trumpet creeper (eek!), and monarda.

The Washington Gardener holds a photo contest each year; next on the agenda was the review of the finalists and the naming of the winners – very fun! Then the final door prizes were awarded (she had probably 25 very nice door prizes!)!!

I would encourage anyone to go next year! You don’t even need to pick up any seeds (you get so many in the goodie bag…), the speakers were just top notch!!

5 comments:

kate said...

This is a wonderful idea. I would so love to have something like that here.

WashingtonGardener said...

Next "National Seed Swap Day" is 1/31/09 -- always the last Sat in Jan. And yes, we needto change that to INTERnational Seed Swap Day - love to have you join in.

dogwooddesigner said...

Wow, I wished I had tuned in ahead of time. I would have loved to come to the seed swap. I would like to try the photo contest, too. Does anyone know of other ones coming up? Maybe it will get me taking more pictures.

WashingtonGardener said...

I just got an email from National Wildlife Federation fortheir photo contest - very similar to ours but obviously more on wildlife/animals tahn plants. So that might befun to try. Don't forget to take garden photos all through the 2008year for entry into our 2009 competition. And hope to see you at next year's Seed Exchange too.

The Cheap Vegetable Gardener said...

Definately will need to mark that on my calendar next year