First off this week, a correction. Last week I stated that the average last frost for Athens was mid-March. It is, in fact, mid-April, and to drive that fact home the low on Wednesday is currently forecast to be 24 degrees. Spring weather in north Georgia usually is fairy volatile, as the warm wet air coming off the Gulf gets mixed up with cold arctic air rolling down the Appalachians. The seasons seem to change from day to day, and sometimes hour by hour. It makes working in the garden interesting, and growing food on a larger scale challenging. Many of our growers have plants growing under low tunnels or row covers, and as the temperatures fluctuate, they have to go out and lift and lower the plastic sides so the plants down burn up and/or freeze. It’s something they have to watch carefully, because a temperature shift of ten degrees one way or another can be enough to kill or or at the very least severely stunt the plants, and can spell disaster for an entire drop.
I finally walked out to my garden for the first time in months. I got suddenly pulled away from home for a month at the end of summer last year, and just let my beds go wild after that. I was kind of dreading going back out there, afraid I’d find brambles and privet trees already taking root. It wasn’t so bad, though. The kitchen herb garden was already coming back on its own and some flowers I’d planted mid-summer had nice blooms waiting for me. The mulch I’d put down last spring did its job, and by and large the beds are ready for me to put seeds in for this year. Growing food is cathartic for me, and I’m eager to get out there and get things going for another year.
Easter is a month away, and several of our egg producers are running specials on eggs, including some of just white eggs for easy dying. Fresher eggs tend to be harder to peel, so the experts suggest buying eggs several weeks before you plan on boiling them to make them easier to peel, so now is a good time to start your stockpile.
Finally, the totally free 17th Annual Old-Timey Seed Swap, one of my favorite events of the year, is coming right up on April 5th 2014 from 1pm-6pm, at 10 Legacy Rd in Crawford, GA. I know I put all this in the newsletter last week too, but it’s worth repeating another time or two:
“Join us for a casual potluck gathering and seed swap! Yes, it’s that time already… Help us welcome springtime with the 17th Annual Old Timey Seed Swap! Originally organized by UGA Anthropology and Professor Dr. Bob Rhoades in 1998, this is a celebration of heirloom seeds, local food sources, traditional agriculture, and good conversation as folks share stories and swap seeds.
“Why swap seeds? There are hundreds of varieties of heirloom seeds throughout the South and many of them have fascinating histories linked to families through generations of seed saving. Since the 1900’s however, thousands of varieties of heirloom vegetables, flowers and fruit have disappeared. Once lost, these varieties can never be recovered —their important genes and a piece of American history are lost forever. Swapping seeds helps preserve the varieties that remain so they can be used in the future- we need them!
“Bring your heirloom seeds to swap, picnic blanket or chairs, musical instruments for jamming…and help us out with a potluck dish! Location: same place it’s always been, Grove Creek Farm, in the field with the tall cabin- look for signs.
“Educators and vendors including: UGA Master Gardeners to help answer seed saving and gardening questions, primitive technology expert Scott Jones of Media Prehistoria will be there with his fascinating array of ancient tools, Horticulturist Daniella Adams will perform several seed saving demonstrations and have literature available, the Oglethorpe County Bee Club, and local farmers selling their crafts.
“Directions: Turn at the red light in Crawford (North St) and go less than 2 mi. Turn right on Legacy Rd. Look for signs. Only good dogs on leashes please! Contact us for more information at email@example.com”
Thanks so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown, all of our growers, local food, and our rights to eat it. You all are part of what makes Athens such a great area in which to live. We’ll see you on Thursday at Ben’s Bikes at the corner of Pope and Broad Streets from 4:30 to 8pm!