Maria Arnot and Ian Fields here in Williamson– tagging teaming our first blog post! Ian is an AmeriCorps VISTA new to our office, and is helping out with various things with the Williamson Health and Wellness Center. In our last blog post we talked about different upcoming events for our organization. The first of which was the seed swap, which happened on Monday. This time, we decided to add a new component to the Swap, with our first “idea swap.

During the Swap, held at the Health Innovation HUB in Williamson, WV we had around the room presentations and lectures from Master Gardeners, farmers and more. Guests “swapped” between presentations, learning about different topics throughout the night. Doug Dudley, and experienced farmer from the area, was our first speaker. He shared many helpful tips and techniques on preserving seeds you wish to keep.

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  1. If you have saved seeds before, and aren’t sure they are still good, he suggested test germinating the seeds by placing at least 10 of them in a “damp” paper towel. Then, he says it is best to store the paper towel somewhere moderately warm. A good place is on top of your refrigerator by the exhaust fan. After about six days (keep them damp the whole time!), you check on your seeds and take note of how many seeds sprouted. The more that did, the better the germination rate of that pack of seeds.
  2. He also talked about saving and storing seed. He said the seeds you wish to store and keep will be placed inside of a labeled sandwich bag, and then into the freezer for storage. He also had many tips on buying seeds, such as how to make seed buying monetarily feasible for any individual by buying in bulk. He shared with the group several local vendors where he buys seed from.During the ending half of his presentation the topic of GMO vs. Hybrid vs. Open pollinated seeds came about. The presenter shared the differences between each type of seed, and talked about benefits and challenges of using each type.
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Our second Master Gardener speaker was Lonnie Bowen. He presented tips and techniques regarding container gardening. This topic appealed to many individuals in the audience that have less space to grow but are still interested in producing.  He advised aspiring container gardeners to purchase large Tupperware containers, which  you then cut holes in to place PVC pipe. This allows your water to travel directly to the bottom of the container, so that you are not watering directly on top of your plants. He also suggested cheaper methods of container gardening. One way is in the usage of the $0.50 recyclable grocery bags. They make great container gardens and save your budget, while using the same the same advanced watering method as the Tupperware containers. He suggested setting them in a shallow Tupperware, so not to lose too much water.
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