- July 16, 2006 at 12:56 pm #237038
By Tina Samuels
Seed Swaps have always been a good way to bring together a community and share your garden bounty with others. Successful and timely seed swaps will ensure that your garden always has fresh new varieties without having to invest in purchasing new plants.
Start: You can start a neighborhood seed swap with relative ease. It’s a perfect way for making sure that you never run out of plants for your garden.
It’s a good way to get the vegetables or flowers that you’ve been wanting without having to go purchase them. In addition to all your friends and family, invite area school horticulture classes and teachers, library personnel, and any gardening clubs that your particular town has. Calling around to different schools and gardening centers may also land you a speaker for the event, which is always a good draw for stray people to come and join in.
Once you have figured out when it’s going to be and who you will be inviting then you can move on to Organize.
?Organize: Start by setting up a day and time for your event, a few months ahead if possible. Good times are spring and autumn, so that you are either opening or closing a growing season.
?Make sure that you find a suitable site, your house can be fine if there is plenty of parking, or see if a local church or community center will allow you to set up. You will need tables, chairs, pens, boxes, etc.
?Advertise the event by printing up flyers to distribute, send a write-up to any free ad papers your community has, and post to internet groups in the area.
Google “seed swap groups” and you will find a good number of message boards and forums for seed swappers who may be from your area.
?Have a donation jar set up for people to contribute. This is good for any advertising costs you may have incurred. You may decide to use the donation jar for your favorite charity or for setting up the next seed swap event.
Either way, most never question it.
?Get seed donations from area nurseries if they have spares to give away for “advertising” their store.
?Categorize your seeds by family. Place all the members of a specific group together for easier browsing. Be sure to make small signs to differentiate between your vegetable table, your herb, and your flower table.
?Be kind to people who don’t bring anything to swap, but try to set up a one-for-one ticket system.
(For every one seed pack they bring, they can take one) Limit them to only 5 of a particular seed type so that you will still have plenty to go around. Also, make sure that they aren’t bringing commercial seed. This is for out-of-the-garden non-hybrid open pollinated seeds that need to be specially marked.
?Have beverages, set up a cooler of canned drinks for sale so that people will be able to stay longer.
You may even consider having small wrapped baked goods.
?Donate any leftover seed to seed banks to promote good will.
Special Tips: Contributors need to be told ahead of time what their seed packet should be like. They should be marked clearly with the name of the plant (scientific and/or common name), the color, any growing tips, and the number of seeds that are included in the packet.
? Have seeds stored in a small envelope and marked.
Store them before the swap meet in a cool drop place.
?Make sure your seeds for the swap have been dried for at least 1-2 weeks so that they are good to be stored
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