Minutes Salt Lake County Seed Swap Meeting – 1/31/13

Minutes from Salt Lake County Seed Swap – 1/31/13

Chaired by Tessa Zundel

We need a Board of Directors and will be holding elections on Wednesday, February 13, 2013  7:30 P.M.  at the Zundel’s residence.  The original date of the 2nd Thursday turned out to be Valentine’s Day so we changed it to Wednesday of that week.  We hope to share the work so that it doesn’t take up too much of anyone’s time to perform in a board capacity.

We expect to be swapping 6 times this year and have the Midvale library booked for the 4th Thursday of the month April – September  at 6:30 – 8:45 P.M.  (to provide extra time for set up and take down).  Additional meeting places will be negotiated at the February 13th meeting for the end of February and March as the library was not available.

We will be having classes with each meeting and are looking for teachers to help out:

* April – Compost for the Home Gardener – explanation of the basics and ideas real people, with real backyards can use.  How does compost influence seed production?
* May – Water Wise Irrigation Options for the Home Gardener.  How does water influence seed production?
* June – Melons and Peppers – how do we get them to grow and thrive?!  How do we save the seeds?
*July – Backyard Poultry and the rules for Salt Lake County – what are some backyard options and what’s legal where we live?  How are chickens useful in the garden?
* September – Backyard Beekeeping for Beginners – how to get started and where to find equipment and bees here in the valley.  How do bees influence seed production?

Please fill out a membership form as you need to be a member to vote.  The membership form is also available in the files section of the yahoo group.

We went over seed swap procedures and borrowing seeds from the seed bank.  We have swapping procedures for both members and non-members.  These forms are available in the file section of the yahoo group.  If you borrow seeds from the bank then you must fill out a form and agree to bring back seeds that you harvest from what you plant for next year.  If your crop does not work out for whatever reason we will NOT hunt you down 🙂

We have a handout that is an introduction to our group called “Meet the Seed Swap”  and can be downloaded from the files section of the yahoogroup and given out to anybody interested.

Selected gardening books were recommended and available to look at.

Tessa gave the powerpoint presentation about early spring planting for zone 5.  This is available in the file section of the yahoo group.  It turns out that some members are now zoned for 6 and 7 depending on where they live and will be able to use this information earlier than those in zone 5.

Some suggestions by attending members as follows:

1. Burlap is helpful for keeping moist long germinating seeds.

2. Old bathtubs can be used for keeping crops like asparagus from spreading and overwhelming your garden.

3. KSL is a good resource to find free bathtubs, old windows for cold-frames, and other stuff to recycle into garden goodies.

4. 5 gallon buckets, bags, and other containers can be used for growing potatoes but has been met with mixed success.

5. Horseradish if left for too long gets stronger and stronger and can bring tears to your eyes when grating.  The advice is to uproot and replant every couple of years.

6. A member spoke about using old billboard signs for covering his melon beds for warming and insulation.  The TransJordan landfill has a shed for recyclables and currently has mostly paints and pesticides (Tessa checked).  Go to KSL often as it has a lot of recycling opportunities.

After our presentation and discussion we swapped and borrowed seeds from the bank and each other.

Respectfully submitted by Raven Simons (acting secretary)

From Gene Black on using BIllboards

Things to know:

1. It’s UV stabilized Vinyl billboard. There are actually a number of different things you can use to do this job. In essence you’re looking for something sturdy enough to walk on, that isn’t transparent, and is preferably black. There are several different benefits to it if it’s properly understood.

2. If using billboards, the cheap option will include used billboards – meaning there is an advertisement on one side. Typically, one of the conditions of acquiring these is you can’t use them in a manner that would display the advertisement – that’s fine as it’s the back side (which is plain), that you want up. Typically these come with either white or black on the back. White works, but black works much better. You do not want the paper billboards (there might be some useful purpose for those, but I’ve not found it yet if there is).

3. Typical size for these is 24×48 I believe. There are some different sizes available.

4. The best way to use them is to bury the edges to help keep the wind from getting under it. That said, you’re still going to need to put some bricks/pavers/rocks/etc. in the middle if you’re in an area that sometimes gets a lot of wind – typically you’ll need the bricks around the areas where you cut holes.

5. If you’re cutting a large hole in some section like for a 10×4 bed or some such, you can use 2×4 boards as weights along the edge of the cut. Remember when you lay it out on the ground to cut the hole that the ground probably isn’t that even and will throw your measurements off – cut the hole smaller than you think you’ll need.

6. You can glue sheets together with HH-66 (Vinyl Cement).

7. The guesstimate for life expectancy on this stuff is 5 years of use. Your milage may vary. I’ve certainly not been easy on mine and This will be year 3 for it and it still looks good.

8. I highly recommend drip irrigation. Decide ahead of time if you want the drip irrigation above or below the billboard. Remember the irrigation tubes will get hot on top – and factor that into your decision (mine are under).

9. If you like to till each year, have a removal plan so you know how to remove the billboard and put it back in place. Think through how you’ll utilize soil amendments as well.

10. Remember this billboard prevents drainage when it rains. My recommendation is to wait for the first big rain, then wait for a full day of sun, then go out and see what water is left and where the puddles are. Take a box knife or some similar item with a thin sharp blade. Everywhere you see a big puddle, look for the deep spots and poke (not slice) a hole about the size of your blade. You may need a few holes. If done right, you won’t be able to tell where you cut the hole because it’s a very thin slit, and you won’t see the water draining because it’s draining too slowly to notice. That said, it is draining. Give it a day. If there is still water, poke holes again. Repeat until you’ve got it right. You should never expect it to be dry soon after a rain, nor do you really need that. Because the black gets hot, you’ll find a large portion of the water will simply evaporate in the first full day of sun. Your drainage holes make sure you don’t have any puddles massive enough to hang around for a significant period of time. In a location that gets more rain than Utah and has less sun, there may need to be more holes, but this works well for me here.

The billboard will do these things for you:

1. It blocks weeds – completely – where it covers. It can be walked on (I drive a wheel barrow over it as needed) so it doesn’t get in the way or cause issues.

2. The black absorbs light causing the billboard to become hot. This helps warm the soil during early and late season as it slowly warms the air (trapped air for the most part which effectively makes it an insulator) and soil under the billboard.

3. The black blocks light and keeps it from getting to the soil which helps cool the soil during mid season. Yes, it’s hot and radiates heat, but heat rises, and the light turned to heat at the billboard instead of in the soil, and the remember my comment about the “insulation” in #2? Insulation doesn’t make something hot (or cold). It prevents it from changing temperature rapidly. Essentially you’re moderating your night and day temperatures. It makes your nights warmer and your days cooler.

4. As a side effect of all of this, it’s also going to help keep bugs down.

5. If your black micro-irrigation pipes are under the tarp, they’re going to stay much cooler than they otherwise would. Water has a lot of mass (which means it takes a LOT of energy to change it’s temperature), and in general, is cooler than the outside temperatures because it’s mostly in the ground. Evaporation, where it occurs, can make things even cooler. Got a really hot summer like last year? No problem. Your irrigation can effectively provide cooling for your crops if used correctly. I love hot summers. They mean my plants are getting tons of sun which means they produce more and the heat is no threat due to my irrigation. Studies have shown that plants are most sensitive to the temperature at their root zone vs their leaves – and water goes to the roots.

As for finding billboards, call whoever is providing billboard advertising in your area. I contacted CBS (I think it was www.cbsoutdoor.com) and they sold me some (I don’t recall the price). If you call the right one, they may give them to you for free. You can buy them online, but the only ones I found online are expensive – probably because these are HEAVY and hence expensive to ship. Just call the advertisers and ask what they do with a billboard after it has run – of course, if you find a company who actually prints or manufactures these, you might find an even better deal.

Hope this helps,


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