Cabin Fever Seed Swap draws high turnout, despite rain

  • The yearly Cabin Fever Seed Swap on Sunday afternoon was as popular as ever, despite rainy weather. The event was held under tents at Just Roots farm in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

  • The yearly Cabin Fever Seed Swap on Sunday afternoon was as popular as ever, despite rainy weather. The event was held under tents at Just Roots farm in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

  • The yearly Cabin Fever Seed Swap on Sunday afternoon was as popular as ever, despite rainy weather. The event was held under tents at Just Roots farm in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

Staff Writer
Published: 3/29/2021 2:49:02 PM

GREENFIELD — Despite poor weather on Sunday, the yearly Cabin Fever Seed Swap drew perhaps the most people ever in its history, with organizers theorizing attendees were eager to venture outdoors for gardening amid the ongoing pandemic.

“This is one of the highest attendances we’ve ever done,” said Greenfield resident Melinda McCreven, one of the key organizers of the Cabin Fever Seed Swap. “In the pouring rain, that’s pretty shocking.”

Now in its 14th year, the event is typically held in Green Fields Market. This year, because of the pandemic, it was held outdoors at Just Roots farm. A few small tents were set up in anticipation of the forecasted rain.

Despite its name, the event is not exactly a “swap” — it’s really a free giveaway, McCreven said. For new gardeners, she said, it’s a good opportunity to get started, and experienced gardeners love to share seeds and advice.

“Gardeners tend to be so generous, because nature is really generous,” McCreven said. “When you plant something, you’re going to get so many seeds you can’t possibly use them all.”

In this year’s unusually high attendance, many were people who had started gardening in the last year, or wanted to try their hand at it this spring, McCreven said. She guessed that might have had something to do with the pandemic, which has encouraged people to try socially distant activities outdoors.

Opinions differ on what kinds of plants are best for beginners. Danny Botkin, the owner of Laughing Dog Farm in Gill and one of the key organizers of the Cabin Fever Seed Swap, argued enthusiastically for his black plum tomato plants, which will grow as large or as small as they can depending on how much soil they have.

“Seed saving is like a cult,” Botkin said. “People just want to share.”

He also recommended salad greens, because it is easy to plant them in succession — that is, they can be planted in timed intervals, so that different crops can be harvested on a regular basis.

But McCreven said that what’s easiest isn’t necessarily what’s best. Gardeners are motivated to learn when they like what they are growing, she said.

“I’d say grow what you love. Something you love to eat, or flowers,” McCreven said. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all thing.”

Reach Max Marcus at mmarcus@recorder.com or 413-930-4231.




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