Minutes October 14 — Winter Sowing and Seed Swap

Gardeners Exchange Group Meeting 14 October 2017
Location: Home of Carol Cadle
Topic: Winter Sowing and Seed Swap with Joyce Morningstar Barron
Submitted by Julie Neely, GEG Secretary

1017-Carol and JaneThe meeting was held at Carol Cadles’ beautiful home and colorful, flowering garden. Jane began the meeting with a few administrative remarks:

  • This is the last GEG meeting for 2017; thank you to everyone who contributed and attended!
  • There will be a planning meeting sometime in February, details and date to be decided.
  • Anyone who has ideas or information to share at future GEG meetings, contact Jane Blash.
  • Share your ideas this winter on the GEG Facebook page!

Intro to Speaker: Joyce Morningstar Barron

1017-Joyce Morningstar BarronJoyce is a multi-talented person with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts and a variety of creative pursuits. She has over 45 years of organic gardening experience, has been a practicing Herbalist for over 35 years and a Master Gardener for 10 years. Joyce has been a gentle yoga instructor since 1970. She grows, produces and sells herbal products at her Star Eagle Studio and Garden in Berkeley Springs, WV. She also makes and sells beaded jewelry, recently branching out into mosaics. Joyce and her husband Lee are members of the Blue Ridge Chapter of The Wild Ones, an organization that promotes the use of native trees, shrubs and perennials and the reduction of lawns. Together they created the town of Bath Community Garden in Berkeley Springs providing free produce for the local community.

Online References:

Joyce mentioned biodynamic farming and Rudolf Steiner. Her husband Lee does soil testing, sending samples to Logan Labs in Ohio, where comprehensive analysis is conducted along biodynamic principles and interpreted by Lee. If you are not familiar with biodynamic farming, certification or Rudolf Steiner you can find more information at Demeter Association. Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) founder of the biodynamic approach to agriculture, was a highly trained scientist and respected philosopher in his time. Steiner came to the conclusion that western civilization would gradually bring destruction to itself and the earth if it did not begin to develop an objective understanding of the spiritual world and its interrelationship with the physical world. In response to these concerns, Steiner presented a series of lectures that he referred to as “The Spiritual Foundations for the Renewal of Agriculture.” He suggested that farms should be thought of as living organisms, not factories: self-contained and self-sustaining, responsible for creating and maintaining their own individual health and vitality. He talked about the connection between healthy farms and healthy food, suggesting that food no longer contained the essential energy needed to enable humans to realize their full potential. Steiner was one of the first public figures to question the long-term benefits of the manufacturing view of agriculture and to warn of its environmentally destructive practices. In 1927, following Steiner’s lectures, a co-operative was formed to market Biodynamic produce, and in 1928 the Demeter symbol and first Standard was introduced to ensure that the farming methods were uniformly followed and monitored. By 1931, there were approximately 1,000 Biodynamic farms. In 1985 Demeter was formed in the US as a non-profit, seventeen years before the USDA established the National Organic Program (NOP). Demeter International is the first, and remains, the only ecological association consisting of a network of individual certification organizations in 45 countries around the world.

Seed Sprouting in Plastic Containers
Please see the handout entitled Winter Sowing.
What you will need: one or more 2 liter, clear plastic bottles, a serrated knife, seed starting soil with good drainage (“Pro Mix” from Webers in Winchester was highly recommended) seeds, clear tape and possible a drill.

1017-Seed ExchangePreparing Your Garden for Winter; before frost and after first frost
Please see the handout with the same title. Here are a few facts not included in the handout:

  • Neem oil (not recommended) is not the same as horticultural oil which was recommended
  • Good orchard stock is available at Adams County Nursery
  • How to KILL large, yellow hornets (an invasive insect from Japan) on fruits like figs: You will need: one large plastic 2 liter jug, 2 Cups sugar, 2 Cups water 1/2 Cup vinegar , 1/3 of a banana peel. Cut a marble sized hole in the upper neck of the jug, fill the jug with the ingredients and place near your fig tree. The hornets will be attracted to the smell of the liquid, enter the jug and drown. This is not supposed to attract or kill bees.

1017-Breakfast TableHumates
Humates as a soil enhancement are said to: Improve soil water holding capacity, reduce requirement for other fertilizers, improve seed germination, stimulate root growth, and to improve foliage and fruit growth when applied topically. Humates consist of humic, ulmic and fulvic acid along with the “raw humates” (prehistoric plant matter and bacteria) from which these powerful natural acids are derived. Humic acid is a powerful fungi promotant. Beneficial fungi (including mycorrhizal fungi) are the missing link in many soils. Soils that have been on conventional fertilization programs may contain excessive elements, heavy metals and toxic chemicals. Humates serve to buffer the effects of these substances, especially sodium, to lessen their stress effect on your crop. According to Joyce they have been used to reduce radiation effects in Chernobyl, Russia. Humates are available through New Country Organics located at 801 2nd Street, Waynesborough VA, 22980.

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