This weekend was the beginning of my new garden. On Saturday, as the big, wet snowflakes came drizzling down I went to a seed sharing event at a local library. There were four other locations that day around town doing the same. I had never been to a seed exchange and was informed about it through my boyfriend’s mom who had read it in the paper. As my boyfriend (Jordan) and I walked in, we weren’t sure what to bring or expect.
“Do we have to bring seeds to get other types of seeds? Will they cost money? I bet they’ll only take cash. We needed to bring envelopes?? Crap, what do you have to put the seeds in? Why are there so many old people here?”
It turned out they did provide envelopes for the first-timers (phew, I was not wanting to somehow construct the three receipts Jordan had crumpled up in his pocket into a make-shift envelop for all the seeds we were going to get). As we walked around I took all the seeds we want to plant (for FREE) and put them in the little envelopes as Jordan scribbled what each seed was and information about it. I did feel bad for not bringing any seeds of my own to contribute, but that will be a goal for next year. We were given some worm castings (worm poop) for natural fertilizer and a lot of information about joining a food cooperative.
For those of you who may not know, a food cooperative is a group of producers and consumers who rely on each other to buy and sell fresh and homegrown goods. This piqued my interest because people who cannot ideally grow their own food can still get farm fresh produce this way. Another benefit is buying meat in addition to produce from local farmers. The particular group I got information from was the Nebraska Food Cooperative and after researching a little more on their site, I learned that not only are you getting locally grown food, but you are also able to see how the producer is growing their foods (pesticides vs no pesticides, fertilizers vs no fertilizers, organic vs non organic, etc.) and you can personally meet the farmer from which your food is coming. SO much more knowledge to where your food really comes from.
This was our bounty of seeds:
While I’m only going to plant vegetables in my garden, I grabbed a few flowers packets for Jordan’s mom to plant in the front yard. The sunflower seeds I grabbed are an exception though. I want to experiment with them but I haven’t decided if I’m going to plant them this year or not because they are so large and I don’t want to intrude too much in Jordan’s parent’s yard. But I do want to plant them eventually to use the seeds; and of course because they’re pretty. For all you sunflower growers, is the sunflower seed harvesting process difficult?
There were only two vegetables we didn’t find at the seed exchange that we are going to buy online which are jalapeños and achocha cucumbers. For more information on achochas, also known as a New England cucumber, watch this video from An American Homestead.
Overall, this was an exciting event for me. It was a chance to see fellow gardeners come together in the community and provide seeds, other recyclable materials, and support to people wanting to plant. Another great opportunity from seed exchanges is finding heirloom seeds that are not genetically modified and have been being used for years. We tried our best to get all the heirloom and organic seeds we could but came back with a few different packets of non-organic seeds which were too hard for me to pass up being free and all.
Now this snow needs to melt so I can start to plant my new seeds!