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February 2020

Page history last edited by Ruth 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Upper Valley Seedsavers Meeting                         

February 13th 2020


In attendance:

Brian Stroffolino, Kye Cochran, Ruth Fleishman, Sylvia Davatz (time keeper), Margaret Bragg, Jeff Kiralis, Karla Todd, Jeff Lubell, Li Shen (note taker), Stuart Blood (facilitator), Lauren Weston (by phone.)


Brian gave a summary of the projects underway from Sustainable Hartland and the North Hartland Community Farm Project in collaboration with the Hartland Resilience Team.


‘Grow Resilience’ Project

Lauren joined by speaker phone. She introduced the Grow Resilience project that will consist of eight monthly workshops at the Hartland Library and other activities throughout the 2020 growing season. Participants would start plants together in a community garden and then move them to their own gardens. Lauren envisions the project could be extended to seed saving and the mentoring of less experienced gardeners. Funding is available for Grow Resilience. This is a pilot project that could be replicated in other communities in 2021.


Workshops would cover the following: Introduction to Grow Resilience, Garden design, bed preparation, planting and transplanting, harvesting and pests, preserving, harvesting and seed saving and a harvest celebration.


Jeff Lubell asked who the program is aimed at. Lauren said that they did not expect large numbers of participants but hoped for a diversity of people who could become a community, sharing ideas and skills.  The program would be introduced to residents at the Community Breakfast, which is a regular event.

There could be a dedicated seed saving garden since there will be ‘Little Free Gardens’ scattered about the town.


Stuart asked if there were ideas for collaborations. Lauren listed: help with learning key skills, review of the proposed list of vegetables for the Community Garden, mentoring and seed saving. Brian expressed interest in mentoring at his farm.


Lauren proposed a list of vegetables. The group asked why tomatoes and lettuce were not included.  Pole beans, perennial vegetables and small fruits and were also suggested.


Sylvia and Brian will meet with Lauren before the next Community Breakfast.


Cabbage Variety Selection

Ruth said that we do not have much data of our own on the five cabbage varieties. Because of the large number of cabbages required to correctly produce seed (200 plants)we have to choose only one variety. Possible criteria: size, density, good storage, availability, field performance. Flavor is a difficult one to nail down since personal preference, growing conditions, and storage all go into how it would be judged.

The group will choose a variety and discuss this year's protocol at the next meeting in March. Ruth will send out some information to look over before the March meeting.


Carrot Project

Sylvia said she was not ready to finalize a protocol for producing carrot seed, however this would be a very good skill to learn. Brian and she had mixed results from a pilot study. Cross-pollination with Queen Ann’s Lace is a major problem.  Voles are another problem.  Carrot plants also get very big in the second, seed-producing year. Seed from about 20-50 carrots is necessary to keep a variety healthy; about 80 are needed for genetic preservation.

Stuart asked if 2020 was going to be a trial year. Jeff Lubell expressed interest in storage carrots. Overall, 7-8 group members were interested in carrots. The group favored Scarlet Keeper, Scarlet Nantes and Autumn King.  Rather than decide this spring which variety to focus on, Brian suggested that people grow two of the varieties and come fall the group could count the overall yield of carrots  and store the best 100 of the more numerous variety for seed production in 2021.

Sylvia will obtain seeds of Scarlet Nantes and Autumn King for the group.


Conference Report

Sylvia reported on Seed Sovereignty Day, organized by the Freed Seed Federation.

The theme of the conference was sharing knowledge and community. Conference presenters were Bill Braun, Solveig Hanson, Hannah Traggis, Heron Breen, Sharon Maynard, Tevis Robertson-Goldberg, and of course Sylvia.


Meeting Reports

Stuart and Ruth met with Madi Whaley to discuss getting young people involved in seed saving. Constraints include lack of land and time, but the hope is to build their skills in spite of this and maybe interest some in joining U.V. Seed Savers.

Ruth wondered if we should include outreach in the Seed Savers’ mission statement or as one of our goals that support our mission.


Stuart said he had tried to interest Cedar Circle Farm in Thetford in lending us a space for the cabbage project, but they had not followed through.

Kye said that Duncan, her son, is not farming this summer, so his land could be temporarily available. However, the need for a large area will not arise till 2021 when we expect to grow year 2 cabbages to seed.


The next meeting will be March 12th.

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