Everyone is at a different level of experience with saving and sharing seeds. And it's hard to know what to expect when you've just begun or have never tried at all! So, here is one member's Introduction to The West County Community Seed Bank & What to Expect at a Meeting.
"Hi, my name is Megan Perkins and I live in Guerneville, CA. I saw a blurb in one of the local papers about a seed bank and was instantly interested. So I bribed my husband with breakfast at Howard's Station and we went to the August meeting (followed by a car show). Needless to say, he was almost as excited as I am and is looking forward to future meetings.
"When you are coming to a meeting, pack the seeds you want to share in jars, envelopes, ziplock bags, etc. As long as the seeds are clean, dry and labeled, it's just fine. Bring water or something to drink and something for the potluck lunch. No one is turned away for not bringing seeds or food, but it is fun. There's a bathroom nearby and you can refill your water jug at the garden sink. If you can, bring coin envelopes for the seeds you want to take home. I bring a permenant marker to label the envelope too... But that's just me. A hat and sunscreen aren't bad ideas either, especially on a hot day.
"Get to the Salmon Creek School and when you come into the parking lot, turn right into the gravel lot and park near the school garden. You might even find some shade. There are a few tables set up in the garden, next to the kitchen/garden building, in the shade, and a stand of chairs. One table has seed catalogs, fliers, handouts, information to check out. Another table has seeds for planting right away (current season). And another table has seeds for any and everything else. There are commercial seed packets from companies that support the same principles as this group and seeds that other folks have donated. Put your seeds on the proper table (someone will probably help you) and take a look for seeds you may want to take to your garden!
"There is a basket with coin envelopes to use, if you didn't bring your own, and a couple pens and such. I just asked everyone around me what to do and they pointed me in the right direction. It's a very friendly group and I was certainly at home among gardening folk. From 10 to 10:30 am you mill about chatting with folks and trading seeds. Then the groups gathers at the chairs to start the workshop about 10:30 am.
"The workshop I attended in August was about making sourkraut... This is why my husband was so excited! And boy, has it been tasty. The subject varies from month to month and is generally about something season specific. September is saving seeds from tomatoes and October is on garlic. The workshop goes until 11:30 or noon-ish and is followed by a potluck lunch.
"All in all, it's pretty chill and informative. Let's see... Other things at the meeting... A sign in sheet, a page about carpooling from Sebastopol if you are interested, and that's about it. I hope more folks join the group and come to the meetings... I'm always looking for shade loving veggies and plants to grow under my redwood trees!"