CHICO — Locals will soon be adding new varieties of fruits, vegetables and flowers to their home gardens.
The 11th annual Seed Swap welcomed hundreds to the Trinity Methodist Church for a free community celebration of seeds, plants and gardening. Attendees were encouraged to bring seeds to share, but the event was open to all regardless if they contributed.
“It’s a way for gardeners to share secrets and their love of gardening,” said co-organizer Sherri Scott.
Labeled packages of seeds ranging from fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, grains and beans were scattered across various tables as attendees eagerly filled them into envelopes.
Though seed sharing was the main event, tools, bulbs, plants, scions and cuttings were also available.
Along with eliminating the income barrier of gardening, Scott said the annual event aims to create better-lasting plants and gardens.
“One of the ultimate goals is for people to save their seeds and with each generation of gardeners, the plants will get more acclimated to our local climate,” Scott said. “If people who are successful with saving seeds keep doing it every year and share with their neighbors, then we will have more productive gardens.”
According to Scott, certain vegetables, such as tomatoes, struggle to adapt to the Chico climate, which ranges from extremely hot and mildly cold.
Saturday also marked National Seed Swap Day, held the last Saturday of January.
Scott, as well as many other attendees, said they were not aware of the day lining up with Chico’s Seed Swap.
“I would like to say we knew, but we’ve been doing it around this time for years,” Scott said.
Chico Seed Lending Library
The Chico library offers a seed lending library that contains a large collection of seeds shared and donated by the public. Seeds range from peanut to melon.
Those interested in donating or taking seeds must be a Butte County Library cardholder and member of the Chico Seed Lending Library. Both memberships are free.
The Chico Seed Lending Library is a partnership program with the Butte County Library, Earthshed Solutions and GRUB Education.
For more information, visit chicoseedlendinglibrary.org.
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Cedarburg, WI – Ozaukee Master Gardeners are hosting a Spring Symposium on February 29, 2020.
The day of garden inspiration and education at the Cedarburg Performing Arts Center features three garden experts including Fergus Garrett head gardener at Great Dixter, one of the world’s most famous gardens, in Northiam, England, Diane Ott Whealy co-founder of Seed Savers Exchange, and Nick McCullough an APLD-certified landscape designer named Young Professional of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association.
Click HERE for details on tickets and time of event.
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That plastic tag stuck in the plant is important. Here are some tips on how to read them.
Plant Photo: Be careful. Just like social media pictures, they may be overly flattering and not a great example of what you will be getting. A little research goes a long way here.
Common Name: The tag will show a Latin name and at least one common name. The common name “Black Eyed Susan” is actually a redbeckia fulgida (Latin name) and the species of the plant. The name in quotes is the cultivar of the plant and is just a variation of the species. Just like a Dachshund and a Great Dane are both dogs, they are very different species. Different cultivars of the same plant look very different, just like dogs look different.
Overall Description: Again, this could be way more amazing than it really is. Also, I find that when I buy a plant it may not actually achieve the height or width in West Texas that it does in East Texas where they get more rain.
Hardiness Zone: Each label will contain a zone which is the coldest zone in which a plant can exist. Our zone is 7b so don’t buy plants that don’t fall within our zone. Annuals will not list a zone because they are not expected to live through the winter.
Light Requirements: You should see Full Sun, Part Sun/Part Shade and Shade designations on the label. Full sun means the plant needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight and may be symbolized by a yellow sun. Part Sun or Part Shade means 3 to 6 hours of sunlight and will show a sun half yellow and half gray. Shade or Full Shade means that a plant can survive with less than 3 hours of sunlight and may be shown as a grayed out sun. Shade is sort of well, shady here. It does not mean that no sun ever touches it just that it can tolerate some filtered sun.
If you see more than one symbol that plant can tolerate different conditions.
Size: This is a big deal. It is hard when planning a bed or yard to visualize that a plant in a one or five gallon pot can grow 30’ tall and 15’ wide but it can and does happen. Lay out the space and be sure you want that very tall tree.
Habit: This just designates the shape of the mature plant.
Growth Rate: If it says it is slow growing it may take a very long time to get to the size you want it to be.
Another thing that might be on the tag is invasive. It means you may have one this year, fifty next year and you and your neighbors will be fighting it for years to come.
Self sowing plants sprout new plants randomly all over your yard. For beginning gardeners this seems ideal until you are pulling old varieties of Mexican Petunias out of your lawn on a regular basis.
For more information, call the AgriLife office at 498-4071 in Odessa or at 686-4700 in Midland.
Additional information available at https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu and Permian Basin Master Gardeners website (westtexasgardening.org).
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Perrin was busily going through the seed and bulb exchange looking for the right plants to grow this spring.
“It’s well worth it,” Perrin said of her first time coming to the event.
Valparaiso resident Debbie Kelley was picking up, from the free seed and bulb exchange, packets of lettuce seeds she plans to grow this spring in a 10 foot by 10 foot community garden plot.
Her friend, Judy Kepshire, who was also picking out lettuce seed packets to be grown later, will plant hers in a bowl.
“I had good luck last year,” Kepshire said.
Maureen Guger, of Homewood, said she likes attending the classes offered at the annual event as well looking at the various arts and crafts.
Guger, a member of the University of Illiniois Master Gardeners Association, said she always gets a lightbulb moment when attending the classes which included speakers Janet Macunovich, Damien Appel and Barbara Balgoyen.
“It re-energizes me,” Guger said.
“Square Foot Gardening with Kids: Learn Together”
“Compost: A Family Guide to Making Soil from Scraps”
“Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z”
“Grow: A Family Guide to Growing Fruits and Vegetables”
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