Gardeners, both beginners and experienced ones, who enjoy growing new plants will likely enjoy the annual Seed Swap Day on Saturday, Feb. 10 at Knox-Lincoln County Cooperative Extension, 377 Manktown Road, Waldoboro.
Although people have been swapping seeds since time began, these days people usually buy seeds. This old skill of swapping seeds is disappearing from our culture. When one saves one’s own seeds, one is joining a chain of farmers, gardeners, and seed savers that dates back to the Stone Age.
The first official seed swap day was held in January 2006 in Washington, D.C. and is now a national “day.” It’s a day when gardeners come together and swap the seeds from their best plants. This helps to improve local biodiversity. It’s also a time to swap stories and skills as one gets ready for the upcoming gardening season.
On Feb. 10, master gardener Jean Vose will host the “Seed Swap and Saving Seeds” workshop on Seed Swap Day. The workshop will begin at 10 a.m. with an introduction to seed saving and swapping. Attendees should remember to bring friends, favorite saved seeds, catalogs, and gardening stories to share.
Vose has been facilitating the swap for three years and is a strong advocate for growing native plants. The program will provide an overview of saving seeds, including the history and tradition, why it is important, how seed saving relates to food security, and the best sources for seed.
Vose is a master gardener, certified horticulturist, and backyard beekeeper living in Nobleboro, where she has created gardens to attract pollinators as well as the other beneficial creatures. The original homestead, established in 1910, features a farmhouse of that era bounded by more than 10 acres of open fields and mixed woods. The gardens feature vegetables, herbs, ornamental grasses, trees, and shady spots. In addition, the gardens are planted with many native plants designed to attract pollinators and beneficial insects. Most of Vose’s gardens have been established for more than 15 years. She has been a backyard beekeeper since 1986. Vose keeps and manages four honey bee hives in her backyard apiary for pollination and honey.
Guidelines for swapping seeds: Please do not bring seed collected from hybrid plants, as they won’t grow true to type; no GMO seed; bring any special growing instructions (e.g., full sun, moist soil, shade); bring perennial, annual, or biannual seeds. Envelopes will be provided for seeds and cards for writing seed information. Please do bring any information about the seeds, including common name/variety, the year the seeds were collected, where they were grown and who grew them, and any other information about what makes the variety unique, or tips for growing.
For more information or questions about this event, call Vose at 563-7564. Coffee, tea, and light refreshments will be served. For directions to the Knox-Lincoln County Cooperative Extension office, go to extension.umaine.edu/knox-lincoln/directions.