Watauga Democrat
February 23, 2007

Organic Growers School and Seed Swap coming up March 3
By Scott Nicholson

The annual High Country Organic Growers School and Seed Swap is coming up on Saturday, March 3, offering classroom lectures and an assortment of heirloom, saved and leftover seeds, flower bulbs and root stock.

Ron and Susan Joyner of Big Horse Creek Farm will be conducting an apple grafting class. The farm will be offering grafting stock in a pot for $5, a first step into home apple production. Big Horse Creek Farm is one of the largest apple tree operations in the region.

Other planned topics include “Farm Incubator,” “Season Extension” and “Seeding New Farms.”

The season extension class will offer advice on getting an early start in the spring, whether inside, floating row covers, cold frames and greenhouses, from small-scale commercial use to home gardens.

Farmer Incubator programs offer more mentoring on entering the agricultural business, including hands-on experience, business advice and resource use, covering the business from “seed to sale.”

It also includes opportunities for landowners to allow growers to use their land for mutual benefit, including leases, share-cropping, nonprofit or conservation easements, or other promotion of agricultural uses.

Tamara McNaughton is heading up the seed swap this year, taking over for veteran local organic grower Rob Danford.

Growers are invited to bring their extra seeds, as well as containers or envelopes. All seeds are free, and you don’t have to bring seeds in order to take some. Typically, a number of heirloom, specialized and acclimated species are available, as well as wood scion.

Classes are held over the course of the day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In the past, Watauga and Ashe counties have held separate events but they will be combined this year.

For more information, contact Richard Boylan at the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service at 828-264-3601 or 336-219-2650.

There is no charge for any of the classes or seeds, and everyone is welcome.

Directions from Boone:
Highway U.S. 421 South to stoplight intersection in Deep Gap. At intersection, turn left onto U.S. 221 North. Stay on U.S. 221 North for approximately 17 miles. Go straight through three more traffic lights. You will see Food Lion/Rose’s shopping center at the third light. From this light, go .9 miles and get into the left turning lane. Turn left onto N.C. 16 north. Travel 1.2 miles and you will see a Family Central sign on your right and a Mountainview Elementary School sign on your left. Turn right at the Family Central sign onto Ashe Central School Road. Follow this road about .5 miles and you will see Family Central on your right.


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