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About twenty local people brought their gardening, orcharding, and seed-saving skills to the Abbott Memorial Library. The event gave participants an opportunity to learn and share more about the fundamental process of growing food and flowers reliably from year to year. The workshop was hosted by the library and Dexter Dover Area Towns in Transition (DDATT).
Apple tree cuttings found themselves next to seeds from purple runner beans, lupine, tomatoes, corn, and many other species, including a few red spruce seeds garnered by Jay Hall from the woods up around Rainbow Lake. Melissa and Ron Harwood described how they use hundreds of 5 gallon buckets as growing containers for potatoes, beans, chard, and onions at their farm in Harmony.
Dexter's Tim Breen (left) discusses grafting apple trees to an attentive and curious group at Abbott Memorial Library's annual seed and scion swap event. (Photo courtesy of Liz Breault)
For the past two years, a small group of seed-savers has been slowly learning the practical skills of pollination and preservation with an eye to creating local varieties suited to local conditions. For instance, in 2017 the group experimented with tomato seeds grown by Brooke Isham of Sangerville, who crossed a late-blight-resistant but bland variety with a more flavorful one. Palmyra’s Pegg Gannon, one of the experimenters, called the small group together for discussing results and planning further tinkering with tomatoes and squash this coming growing season.
As DDATT’s mission is to help our area reduce our use of fossil fuels and create a more stable rural economy by becoming producers instead of consumers, concentrating on local food production is a major emphasis. Workshops on health care, water catchment, carbon fee and dividend, fermentation, permaculture and more are being planned for the summer season. For more information on DDATT and future events, email to get on email news list, or contact 277-4221 or 924-3836.