In attendance: Helen Fields, Stephen Greene, CJ Vadnais, Betty Vadnais, Ruth West, Priscilla Tracy, Angela Brothers.
School Classes and seed germination
Helen is on the school’s agriculture committee and will meet with them to coordinate activities between SVSS and school classes.
The kindergarten reportedly wants to grow herbs in the courtyard.
Several teachers have expressed an interest in growing plants for the town’s flower boxes. We have discussed helping with them by providing seeds of native flowers that benefit pollinators.
Betty V. expressed interest in planting native trees and shrubs on the school campus. Ideas for woody plants include, butternuts, hazelnuts, blueberries, and others. She will do follow-up research.
C.J. V. suggests that we ask kids to gather recycled materials for growing plants such as paper cups, boxes, milk boxes, egg cartons …
Helen F. will call school tomorrow to set up a meeting. – Ruth W. will assist in this effort
NEGEF Grow Grant status
Unknown at this time.
It is our understanding that we are not tied to line items in the proposed budget and can make changes in response to arising needs.
The proposed watering system using a 12 volt pump and PV panels was discussed. CJ says that he has oodles of rain barrels that could be used. He thinks that a ram pump or a rotary pump might be better options for a watering system.
CJ has a salvaged card catalog unit from a library that he is willing to donate. It has about 20 sliding drawers that could accommodate seed packages and could fit on top of one of the low book shelves. It would be great for organizing and storing seeds. We will need to make a request to the library committee for approval. Stephen will take the lead on this and work through Caroline.
School fencing and garden access
Chris W. contacted us to raise a concern about a fence that is being proposed for the school playground. Helen will go to the select board and school principal this week to find out what is being proposed and request that vehicular access for the gardens is incorporated into the plans.
Seed Saving Volunteers
A call for SVSS members to think about growing for seed production led to the following information.
Susan successfully grew blue corn last year and may have seed.
Helen tried to grow green Oaxaca corn which did not have enough time to ripen.
Stephen tried to cross two strains of pumpkins naked seeded and pie pumpkins unsuccessfully because the flowering of the two varieties were out of sync.
CJ grew quinoa which was eaten by something
Joe also tried Quinoa which also got eaten
Stephen asks members to think about picking a crop variety that they would like to grow specifically for the seed library. We will discuss this again at the next meeting.
Helen will try amaranth this year.
Ruth would like help starting a garden.
Perhaps we could schedule garden slams to create gardens for individuals.
There is interest in selling plants later in the spring. There is also concern that we would be competing with commercial growers, specifically Many Forks Farm.
Sharon (MFF) grows to plant starts to order. Orders should have been submitted by April 1, but she may be selling additional plants. Helen will get in touch with her to find out how we can avoid overlapping interests.
Helen says that 8th grader, Nick Carpenter has agreed to work with us on a pumpkin project.
There is a spring plant sale in North Adams. Do we want to start plants for that event?
Williamstown garden club hosts a fundraiser on May 26th with perennials.
We could each grow a few trays of something and sell at someone else’s event.
Stamford church bazaar is on the first Saturday of June, We could have a table at this event.
We will bring germination mix and trays to the next meeting to get plants started.
People could donate money to sponsor trees or berry bushes on the school grounds in support of Betty’s native tree plans.
We could create an arboretum on school grounds with trees and shrubs that are sponsored by individuals or families.
Let’s grow American Chestnuts.
Helen will contact Johnny’s Seeds for catalogs to be used in school classes.
We are subscribed to Seed Savers. Org and will receive packets of seeds.
Betty will contact them to find out why we are not on their online map.
Betty will talk to Micah about planting sugar maples in school yard.
CJ suggests a grafted fruit basket tree.
Next meeting will be Wed. April 17 6:00 at the fire station. We will be filling trays with seeds for propagation.