Organize a Seed Swap


Seed swaps are a great way to connect with local gardeners and share your goods. Trade the leftover seeds you harvested with another plant lover who has a different variety in their garden. Some plants are harder to find in seed form than others, and seed swapping is a great way to add diversity to your garden. Seed swapping also encourages gardeners to save their leftover seeds properly! Learn how to organize a seed swap with local gardeners and plant enthusiasts!

What is a Seed Swap?

Seed swaps are when gardeners trade their leftover seeds in their garden. At the end of the season, many gardeners choose to harvest the seeds of their different plants and save them for the next planting season. You can save seeds by letting them dry and then store in a cool, dry, place away from light. They keep for about two to four years and can be easily planted. You may find that you end up having more seeds than you need and would like to add some new plants to the garden. Seed swapping is the perfect chance to get rid of some of your old seeds and gain some new ones.

Organizing a Seed Swap

If there aren't any seed swaps close by, organize your own. Seed swaps are a great way to connect with other gardeners in your area, share tips and plants. You can plan a small seed swap with gardeners in your neighborhood or make it community-wide and have sponsors and speakers. Seed swaps are all about trading goods and coming together to share a love of plants.

Test the Waters

You can start seeing if other gardeners in your area are interested in seed swapping. You can create a free online resource to connect with other like minded individuals to help you plan, organize the event, and share tips and additional information about seed swapping. Start by making a Facebook Group or MeetUp and inviting the local gardeners you know. Other gardeners can become members of the group and start a dialogue about the seed swap.

Choose a Location

One of the first steps in organizing a seed swap is choosing the right location. Tables are helpful for a seed swap so gardeners can lay out their jars or bags of seeds. A seed swap could be outdoors in a botanic garden or inside in a library. Give yourself enough space and if you expect a big turnout, plenty of parking. If you plan on having plenty of seeds and want to encourage drop-ins from non-invitees, plan your event somewhere outdoors where people can walk by and join in. If your venue requires advanced booking, start advertising first and ask people to RSVP to get an idea of the headcount. Seed swapping is a fun time for gardeners and community members to come together, so choose a comfortable location where guests can stay and socialize.

Location ideas: park pavilion, coffee shop, local garden, church, someone's garden, or a co-op. You can also piggyback of off another agricultural event like a farmer's market and have a booth or other set up.

Pick a Date

Before you start spreading the word about the seed swap, it's essential to pick a date. Give your fellow gardeners enough time to plan in advance, at least a month's notice.

Spread the Word

Once you've created a Facebook Group or Meetup for the Seed Swap and picked a location and date, it's time to start spreading the word. Contact local gardening and botanic groups, gardens, nature-related clubs, environmental groups, and DIY groups. Post flyers on bulletin boards of local botanical gardens, zoos, and health food stores.

Create Ground Rules

Make sure your fellow seed swappers know the rules before attending the seed swap. Can those don't bring any seeds or plants participate? Ask that everyone clearly labels their seeds for the other gardeners. Ideally, each label would contain the name of the plant, variety, year harvested, how many they can need and can take, location collected from, tips for planting. Decide whether you will allow seeds purchased from a store. Let gardeners know what seeds are accepted and what isn't. Hybrid plant seeds that weren't purchased from a store often are sterile and will not sprout. Do you want your gardeners to bring unwanted plants or starters? Let them know beforehand!

Extra Tips:

  • If you're worried about not having enough seeds contact your local farmers, garden stores, nurseries, seed companies, and botanic gardens and ask for seed donations.
  • Before starting the swap, have each grower tell a little bit about themselves, to create a sense of community and get to know one another.
  • Have a sign-in sheet and mailing list or ask your fellow swappers to "join" your Facebook Group or MeetUp to make organizing future events easier.
  • Take pictures! Document for the next swap and put on the Facebook Group/MeetUp page.
  • Ask gardeners to bring baked goods for snacking or sign up for beverages.
  • Add a donation drive for charity.
  • Bring extra plastic/paper bags, markers, and spoons for fellow seed swappers.
  • Organize bins by type of plants ex. Herbs or vegetables.

Seed swaps are the perfect way to introduce new plants to your garden. You can trade last year's leftover seeds with your fellow gardeners to get new plants and get rid of your old ones. Everyone's garden is different, creating a wide variety of seeds to choose from. Seed swaps are a fun event for the gardening community, bringing plant-lovers together to mingle and trade plants and tips. If you don't have any regular seed swaps in your area, organize a seed swap of your own. Create a Facebook Group or MeetUp and connect with other plant enthusiasts. Seed swapping is a plant party that other gardeners will be excited to attend.

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