Thanks to planning and planting last fall, plus a very mild winter, we have an unusually large variety and abundance of greens for salads, cooking, and to share with the local food pantry. We are excited about working with local Master Gardeners on a Plant a Row for the Hungry project to help gardeners grow extra food to share with the needy in our neighborhood. All of the new trial greens look so good it is going to be difficult to decide which to we like best. Maybe the rapid temperature changes of early spring will make our choices clearer.
In the United States the last Saturday of January is "National Seed Swap Day.” I’m going to celebrate this January 28 by teaching about seed saving at the Washington Gardener Seed Swap and joining in the Seed Swap afterwards. National Seed Swap Day encourages gardeners all over America to share their resources with other gardeners. At local seed swaps gardeners share seeds from open-pollinated plants, allowing people to grow varieties that are suited to local conditions, socialize with other gardeners and prepare for the spring gardening season. While it is a little late to schedule something for January 28, there is still plenty of time this season to organize a community seed swap in your town or join in one of the many local swaps organized by groups like the Twelve Spring Seed Swaps co-sponsored by Conserving Arkansas's Agricultural Heritage (CAAH!) and the annual Ole Timey Seed Swap organized by Southern Seed Legacy in north Texas. I invite you to celebrate this holiday by organizing a seed swap with gardeners you know.
Interested in seed saving but don’t know where to get started? The staff of Seed Savers Exchange is offering a series of webinars covering the A-Z of saving your own seeds this year. The March - Planning Your Garden for Seed Saving - offering sounds like just what a new seed saver needs. You can also download a great new 25 page Seed Saving Guide for Gardeners and Farmers from the Organic Seed Alliance. Southern Exposure offers many seed saving supplies and simple seed saving guides. I also recommend the Seed Saving Guides from the Save Our Seed project at savingourseed.org.
Even with seed swaps and conferences every weekend I still enjoy Homegrown Friday meals. We have so many winter greens, sweet potatoes and other winter roots that it seems like we try some kind of delicious root soup or greens dish inspired by the Winter Foods Book every week. Dusty, one of our vegan cooks, even made a delicious chocolate sweet potato cake this week. I asked her for the recipe and she told me she just made it up. I couldn’t resist sharing the picture and I promise I’ll get together with her to recreate this luscious dessert and share the recipe soon.
Thanks for stopping by and we hope you’ll come back often to see what we’re growing and cooking.
Ira Wallace lives and gardens at Acorn Community Farm home of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange where she coordinates variety selection and seed growers. Southern Exposure offers 700+varieties of Non-GMO, open pollinated and organic seeds. Ira is also a co-organizer of the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello. She serves on the board of the Organic Seed Alliance and is a frequent presenter at the Mother Earth News Fairs and many other events throughout the Southeast.