Submitted by Theresa Catlin
MARIPOSA – Mariposa and Oakhurst are areas alive with avid, beginner and want-to-be gardeners.
Witness any Wednesday Mariposa Farmers Market or Thursday afternoon Oakhurst Farmers Market and you will hear gardeners and vegetable enthusiasts chatting about what is growing well this year, when to harvest which vegetables and fruits, and exchanging recipes. And, of course, debating what to do with all that zucchini!
Something that may be new to some gardeners is the idea of a seed exchange. Seed exchanges are an opportunity to share some of your favorite varieties and possibly get seeds from other gardeners.
While there are many reasons seed savers choose to save seeds from their gardens, these four reasons may well be at the top of their lists:
1. Seeds selected from plants thriving in our local gardens are often better suited to our local conditions.
2. We can save money by exchanging and not buying seeds.
3. Exchanging seeds promotes a healthy sense of self-reliance.
4. By exchanging seeds locally we can maintain control of our local food system and preserve biodiversity. Scientists and environmentalists tell us this is a good thing as we are then able to create regional, productive food systems of safe, healthy food. This self-reliance can begin in our own backyards and extend to community and school gardens.
Such a seed exchange will take place on Sunday, October 19th from 1 – 4 p.m. at the One Light Bed and Breakfast Meeting House located at 3526 Highway 49 South, between Bootjack and Woodland in Mariposa across from the round dragonfly sign.
The event is free and all are welcome. Even if you don’t have seeds to trade, you will learn from regional gardening experts Marianna Burrett, Patti Sue Ogletree and Meg Koeppen about the importance of seed saving. You will meet others who share your interest in growing food and protecting plant diversity. Plus, sharing seeds from the plants we nurtured all summer is just plain fun.
For more information: 742-4597
How to save seeds from winter squashes: (Make sure your squash is organic and locally grown!)
Simply scoop the seeds out of the cavity of the squash. Rinse in cool water. Allow the seeds to dry on a paper towel. When completely dry place the seeds in a clean envelope and label accurately with the date collected, the type of squash and it’s fair or garden source.
The Mariposa Library offers an easy to follow handout on seed saving, along with seed envelopes.