By Angela Montgomery, Contributing Writer
If you are looking to live a more local life and plant your own NON-GMO, Heirloom garden, then a seed swap may be a good way to get started. Seed swapping is also a great way to save money.
What is a seed swap/exchange?
A seed swap (also called seed exchange) can be as simple as you and your neighbor sharing seeds that you saved from your previous years of gardening, or as elaborate as a planned local event with the entire community. The basic premise is that you have saved seeds from your garden produce and you have more than you need, or are willing to part with some of them to gain seeds of another variety.
How to get started exchanging seeds:
- You need to go through your own seed collection and find out what you have, what you want, and what you are willing to part with. (be sure everything is labeled clearly)
- Contact your neighbors, friends, or family whom you know grow gardens. Ask them if they save seeds, and if so, do they need any of the seeds that you are willing to exchange. (As a side note- I asked my grandparents, who are avid gardeners, if they would save some seeds from their garden for me. They did, and I received a huge bag full of seeds from them! Besides the fact that the seeds were free, the best part about it was the feeling I get knowing that my grandparents worked in their garden to grow the fruits and vegetables, and now they are being passed down to me. I in turn now have the opportunity to save seeds from those same fruits and pass them down through my own family.)
- Go online and search for your specific area plus the words seed swap. You may be surprised to find that there are already groups and events in your area.
- Another online search you can do is your specific area plus the words Facebook or Yahoo group seed swap.
- Check your local classified section. Sometimes there are gardening or trade sections and you may find someone selling or trading seeds or plants
- Start you own event!
Don’t have any seeds to exchange? Don’t worry! You can follow the same steps as above to find local seeds and plants and you should be able to purchase what you need. In many cases you may even end up with FREE seeds and plants! Maybe next season you can swap some of the seeds that you saved this year!
Want to start your own community seed swap?
Here are some basic steps to hosting your own community seed and plant exchange:
- Choose the time and place. Maybe you know of a local business who would let you set up in their parking lot. Or, make it more personal and host it at your own home.
- Tell everyone you know. Post on Facebook. Consider placing an add in you local paper. Make flyers and put them up at local businesses.
- Be sure that your instructions are clear for those swapping. Labeling is very important!
- You may consider inviting someone from the local garden club to speak or do demonstrations.
You may also want to join an online seed exchange. The “grandfather” of all seed savers is www.seedsavers.org. You can join for $40.
Have you ever been involved with a local seed or plant exchange?
Do you know of a local or online seed exchange? Please share!
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