It’s cold, wet and muddy and the plants in the garden look as though they’ve all but gone to sleep. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this is a time of rest for growers in the UK.

But while the garden lays dormant over winter, growers begin a different phase of their annual cycle – this is the time of year when the work in the garden eases off and growers have a chance to think, reflect and plan for the year ahead. It’s also a chance to connect with other growers and this January the South West Seed Savers (SWSS) have used the winter hiatus to plan how they can stay connected during the coming year.

SWSS are a group of commercial, agroecological growers who have come together to exchange seed crops and to share their knowledge and experience of seed production. During their first meeting, they decided that setting up an online network for conversations about seed production and creating a platform for sharing resources was a priority. One of the group members suggested Google Groups and Google Docs as a potential platform to do this on and Ellen Rignell, Regional Coordinator for the West of England, led a Google training session in January at Shillingford Organics.

The training was well-received and the online group has already created folders to pool all of their information on seed production. It will be interesting to see how the online group develops over the coming months.