High Country Seed Swap & Growers Exchange March 19, 2019

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High Country Seed Swap & Growers Exchange – 3/16/19

 Seed Swap


On Saturday, March 16, 2019, all aspiring and practicing area gardeners are invited to Ashe Family Central (the former Ashe Central High School in Jefferson) to the High Country Seed Swap. The event features a day-long open exchange of seeds, plus workshops taught by area experts on apple tree grafting, and organic pest control. Beginning at 8:30 a.m., gardeners will be able to display their own surplus seeds and view the offerings of others on tables set up in the community space. The seed swap will continue throughout the morning and wind-down in the mid-afternoon.

Gardeners are encouraged to bring any surplus seeds, bulbs, corms, cuttings, plants, and fruit scion wood they can to exchange. Seed swaps operate on the honor principle that gardeners will bring what they can this year, grow what they get from this swap and other sources, then bring saved seeds from their crops to next year’s seed swap.

The grafting workshop and fruit-scion-wood exchange will be held from 10 a.m.–12:20 p.m., led by nationally known apple experts Ron & Suzanne Joyner. The grafting workshop taught by the Joyners will begin with a classroom session from 10–11 a.m., followed by a hands-on practice from 11 a.m.–12:20 p.m., with participants able to learn with the actual tools of the trade. Apple rootstocks will be available for purchase at the workshop, so if participants choose, they can graft several trees to then bring home and plant themselves (a flat fee of $10 will allow participants to graft up to three fruit trees). Information about collecting scionwood samples for grafting can be found on their website.

The Organic Pest Control session will be taught by Area Extension Agent Richard Boylan from 12:30–2 p.m. This class has been well-received at the 2018 Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Sustainable Agriculture Conference, the Organic Grower’s School Spring Conference, and other regional events.

The Seed Swap presents a great opportunity for local farmers to access this class at no cost. It will cover the efficacy and optimal timing of available organic pest control products, based upon recently published results, regional research farm tests, and local Extension experience.

The Seed Swap takes place in the Community Space (i.e., former cafeteria) of Ashe Family Central, located at 626 Ashe Central School Rd., in Jefferson, NC (28640). North Carolina Cooperative Extension of Ashe County sponsors the event, with support from the Ashe County Farmers Market (ACFM) and the Master Gardener℠ volunteers of Ashe County.

The Seed Swap runs on community involvement, from the many gardeners who bring heirloom seeds from their gardens to the assistance from the Master Gardener volunteers of Ashe County and Ashe County Farmers Market volunteers who make it all happen smoothly. The more participants who bring seeds and other materials to share, the better the Swap will be. The event is free and open to all gardeners and farmers in the area. For more information, call the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Watauga County (828-264-3061) or Ashe County (336-846-5850) Centers. Concurrent with the Seed Swap, the Ashe County Farmers Market membership gathers to register and prepare for the season. This year, the Ashe County Farmers Market welcomes farmers from adjacent counties (Johnson, TN; Grayson, VA;  Wilkes, NC; Alleghany, NC; and Watauga, NC). Growers producing homegrown edible farm goods (i.e., fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, eggs, etc.) may apply during the Seed Swap. For more information on joining the ACFM, email ashe.county.farmers.market@gmail.com.