If you're ready for Spring -- and who isn't -- I have three events that may help you fell like spring is right around the corner!
I'm heading to the Philadelphia Flower Show this Saturday but if you weren't lucky enough to make the trip this year why not try a local version of the Flower Show? Trail Gardens is hosting their Girlfriends Day Out on Sunday, March 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Good news! Men who love plants are also welcome. Trail Gardens will be hosting Hippie Chicks Winery with wine sampling (for 21+ only and bring a designated driver) as well as Way-Har Farms with their delicious baked goods. There will be a succulent garden workshop (everything is provided) and a flower arranging workshop (bring your own container with a 3" to 5.5" opening). You have to pre-register for the workshops but all the other fun, including free pansies, free raffles and tons of sales will be waiting for everyone.
If you love to hike and bike, you should stop by the public meeting to discuss the walking/biking trail from the soccer fields on Gordon Nagle trail to Silverton Road in Llewellyn. the meeting will be on Monday, March 12 at 7 p.m. at the Schuylkill Conservation District office, 1206 Ag Center Drive, Pottsville. Come attend the meeting to learn more and add your suggestions. Help make our community a great place to enjoy the outdoors.
Last up is a Seed Swap! I'm going to let Jen Tanner, owner of Recycled Earth Farm tell you all about it.
What made you start Recycled Earth Farm and what can people expect when they visit there?
JEN: Over the years I've taught everything from K-12th grade and I consistently notice the lack of awareness our future generation has, in terms of where their food and electricity come from. My goal is to lure people in with cute animals, and teach them a few fun facts that keep them intrigued enough to either return, or seek another source of learning. Ideally, my goal is to get everyone involved in growing their own food; whether it's a tomato plant on their porch, a full vegetable garden, and/or a few productive pet chickens!
When is the next time the public is invited to Recycled Earth Farm?
JEN: Our Seed Swap on March 17th from 9 a.m. to noon, and our Free Easter Egg Hunt on March 31st from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
So what exactly is a seed swap?
JEN: A seed swap is for all of the people like me, that can't stop picking up packets of seeds this time of year. How many hobby gardeners really plant all of the seeds in a vegetable packet? And what do you do next year.... Buy More! This way, you take 10 seeds, put them in an envelope, label what they are (the more info the better), and swap them out for some other plant you'd like to try! Without paying and without the insane amount of extra seeds that stare at you all year.
Oooh, this could be fun! Are we restricted in the types of seeds we can swap -- vegetable, flower, bushes, houseplants?
JEN: Any kind of seed is what I've been advertising, but I'd be more than happy to include bulbs, cuttings, small plants, etc. Just a caveat, the live plants and perennials weren't advertised so there might be a limited supply of those to swap from. I think I'll keep a houseplant for a houseplant swap rule... only because I don't want to get stuck with a bunch of them! But perennials can be swapped for a seed pack.
How much do we have to know about our seeds? Can we just say "Marigolds, short" or do we have to know the official name of the variety?
JEN: I'm hoping people can label the envelopes with the plant name, and if they know the variety. Also, sun preference, how tall they'll grow, how long until they germinate, and how long until they reach maturity. But a name, height, and sun preference is probably enough to get them picked.
Do we have to give fellow swappers tips on how to start the seeds and conversely, will fellow swappers give US advice?
JEN: I'm thinking there will be a lot of knowledge and help floating around that day, but just in case, I'm hoping to enlist a couple of Master Gardeners as well.
How many seeds should be in each packet for swapping?
JEN: 10 please.
What is the cost to swap?
JEN: Free! Just swap 'em out! If people don't have seeds to swap, it'll be $1 a packet, or $0.50 for older seeds (packaged for last year).. most seeds are viable for at least 3 years, but companies don't want you to know that!
What if a reader hasn't ever grown plants from seeds-- is it tough? Are there any advantages to growing from seed?
JEN: Stick them in soil, give them some sun and water, and see what happens! It's amazing! Some plants are easier than others, but I can help steer people in the right direction. Spring/Cold veggies are extremely forgiving and tough. The advantages are that you know exactly what was (or wasn't) put on your food... and you get to watch magic! I'm still in awe every time I see a seedling emerge. I can get all science geeky, but I'll spare you that!
Anything else you want to share?
JEN: I just encourage people to come out and see what we offer. The business is in its germination phase/infancy, but we have so much to offer: Workshops on everything we do on the farm (and plan to do), animal care, birthday parties, summer camp, reading & writing programs, and more to come! Just take a nice Saturday drive and meet the animals if nothing else. They always like meeting new people.