It’s Time to Organize a Seed Swap

It’s Time to Organize a Seed Swap

Whether you have a sprawling garden that feeds your family all the produce they need during the warmer months or you just have a few pots of plants growing on your balcony or windowsill, spring is an exciting time of year. It’s when you decide what you’re going to try to grow for the season, and it’s when you plant those first seeds that will soon develop into the tomato, eggplant and bell pepper plants that will be providing you with fresh, juicy vegetables all summer long.

But if you’ve had a garden before, you know that buying a ton of different seeds is expensive. It can be even more cost-prohibitive if you want to try growing a wide variety of species of the same plant. If you want to make your garden as varied as possible, you should organize a seed swap. A seed swap is just what it sounds like: a group of gardeners getting together to trade seeds. By participating in a seed swap, you’ll cut your gardening costs, have the ability to grow a wider range of plants and maybe even connect with your community in the process. Plus, it may just be the best way to get your hands on some special heirloom seeds. 

Let’s take a closer look at how you can organize your own seed swap.

Connect with Other Gardeners

The first step in organizing a successful seed swap is simple but essential: Connect with other gardeners in your area. Visit your community garden to meet fellow growers, or find a local online forum where you can discuss your seed swapping idea. The more gardeners you invite to your event, the more seeds you’ll be able to trade. And who doesn’t like connecting with people who share a common interest? 

Organize the Seeds at the Event

Once all of your new friends have arrived at the seed swap, it’ll be time to exchange seeds. The best way to do this is to organize the different seeds into categories so everyone can find what they’re looking for. If it’s a smaller event, you can place vegetable seeds in one area, fruit seeds in another and herb seeds in yet another. For a larger seed swap, though, you’ll want to be a bit more specific. You might want to group several different species of tomato plant together, for example. Make sure you have some sort of container for participants to place their seeds in.

Consider Swapping Plants Later in the Growing Season

If you’re not quite ready to organize a seed swap, you may want to hold your gardening event later in the season. Instead of swapping seeds, though, you can trade plants that have already started growing. Perhaps you planted too much cucumber or eggplant, and you need a few more tomato plants—plant swapping is the way to do it. Of course, you’ll need more space for this kind of get-together than you would for a seed swap, but it’s an easy event to hold outside during the warmer months of the year.

Share Growing Tips

A seed swap isn’t just about getting the seeds you want for the season—it’s also a great way to learn more about gardening in general. Make conversation with your seed swap guests, and they may just give you some tips and tricks to make your garden better than ever. This can be especially helpful when it comes to specific heirloom varieties. Someone who has already grown the plant in question is an excellent resource to take advantage of, particularly if you can’t find much about the specific variety you’re planting online.

Make It a Potluck

You may be coming together to swap seeds, but that doesn’t mean you can’t turn your seed swap into a party. Consider making the event into a potluck by telling all attendees to bring a dish with them. Once you’re done trading seeds, you can all sit down to a delicious meal together. Events like these are important not just for building a better garden but also for building relationships within our communities. At the heart of gardening is a desire for some level of self-sufficiency, but paradoxically, the best way to achieve that kind of self-sufficiency may just be to build a foundation of community.

Samantha Maxwell is a food writer and editor based in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @samseating.

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