"for a better tomorrow..."
Seed swaps, also called seed exchanges, are a part of the community garden sharing economy, a network of gardener -beginner or experts- who save money by sharing products and services instead of buying and selling them.
For the ones who follow me since the beginning, you all know that I never sale my seeds, plants or veggies and always exchange or give them. It is the reason why every year I organise a seed exchange for the community.
Many times during the season we get together to swap our unused seeds or cutting for others they can use. My gardener friends share seeds they’ve harvested from their own plants, seeds from crops they no longer care to grow, or leftover seeds they don’t have time to use. You can also exchange seedlings or cuttings from plants. Some gardeners even dig up unwanted plants from their yards to offer to others who can use them.
Here is why should you join our next seed swap.
When we buy the smallest-sized seed packet available, it’s often more than our small-scale garden or balcony can use. Although you can always save the extra seeds for next year, sometimes one packet is enough to last several years, and you can’t store all seeds that long! Spare seedlings can also be a problem. When you start plants indoors, it makes sense to grow a few extras to ensure enough healthy seedlings survive. Sometimes, you end up with more than you need, and it seems a shame to throw away living, thriving young plants. Rather than letting your extra seeds and seedlings go to waste, you can share them with others while also picking up free seeds and seedlings for your own garden.
Seed swaps fall into three main categories:
Seed Libraries. A seed lending library maintains a catalog of seeds members can take home and use in their gardens. Unlike borrowers who check out a book from a regular library, they don’t have to return the same seeds they borrowed. Instead, they can pay the library back with any seeds saved from their own harvest. One well-known seed library is the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library in Richmond, California. However, there are more than 500 other seed libraries around the world.
Local Gatherings. This type of seed swap is an informal gathering of neighbors with a common interest in gardening. One benefit of a local exchange is that all the seeds are likely to be crops that work well in your microclimate — the specific growing conditions in your area. If your next-door neighbors always have a flourishing garden, you can try out some of their crops in your own yard.
Online Exchanges. Another way to exchange seeds with your neighbors is through online groups set up for this purpose on sites like Facebook or Nextdoor. If you don’t have many fellow gardeners to swap with in your area, you can join a national group like Seed Savers Exchange and trade seeds with gardeners worldwide.