How to Organize a Seed Swap

Got seeds? Want seeds? Why not organize a community seed swap? There are many great reasons to host a swap in your ‘hood:

• Sharing seeds is an economical and ecological way to acquire new plants that are probably well suited to your growing conditions.
• It’s a great way to engage the gardening community in your area and exchange ideas.
• The person offering seeds likely knows the best way to grow them.

Seed swaps promote home gardening and are an ideal way to meet like-minded neighbors. You can begin with a small gathering of friends and neighbors, or invite the whole town.

Here’s how to get started:

Generate some interest. Post on local gardening forums or put up flyers at garden stores, nurseries, libraries, community centers, and coffee shops, explaining what a seed swap is and encouraging people to volunteer and start collecting seeds for trading. Just be sure to tell them not to bring very old seeds – they probably aren’t viable anymore. Many types of seeds can be kept for up to four years in a cool, dry, dark place. Others, including onions, leeks, parsnips, celery, and spinach are usually only good for a year.

Find a venue. Depending on how many people you decided to invite, it can be a local gym, school, rec hall, church, private home or even at a garden center.

Find expert help. Invite experienced seed swappers and gardeners who can answer questions from beginners, and ask if they’ll wear a badge that says, ‘Ask me about saving seeds’.

Don’t be shy! Approach your garden center or area seed companies to ask for donations; they often have leftover seed packets as well as bulk seeds.

Gather necessary equipment. You’ll need small empty paper envelopes or plastic bags and something to label them with, different tables for annuals, perennials, vegetables and herbs, chairs, signs, coffee and refreshment supplies, garbage bags and cash boxes if exhibitors are selling products.

Organize some workshops. Feel free to invite local experts or gardening authors to speak on gardening topics such as starting seeds in newspaper pots or paper tubes.

Create some seed saving brochures to give out to newbies. These should have easy-to-understand tips on how to save, store and plant seeds.

Promote your event on social media and in your local newspaper.

Have fun! Participants will be eager to plant new additions in their gardens, thanks to your efforts.

Photo Credit Info:
Steve Bustin,

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