Start a Seed and Seedling Exchange
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Start a Seed and Seedling Exchange

Seed packets are usually filled with way more seed than most homeowners can use. Seeds don’t always keep until the next year and they often end up in the bottom of a drawer somewhere forgotten and drying out. Why not enjoy a seed or seedling exchange group with your neighbors, friend or church group.

What are you going to do with all those extra seeds that come in your seed packets? Now that you have started dozens of plants and they all survived, what are you going to do with the extras that you can’t use? Why not start a seed and seedling exchange club. Here are some tips on how to do it.

We all know how to do cookie exchanges, or at least most of us do. Plant and seed exchanges are pretty much the same concept only it takes a little more planning.

Schedule Meetings

Invite all your friends and neighbors who are gardeners or who want to be gardeners. This meeting should take place in the early part of the year. You should wait until all the early holidays are past and routines have settled in, but I would recommend sometime shortly after Valentine’s Day.

Plan to select dates for approximately two meetings a month up to planting time. These can be luncheons or tea-time used for visiting and sharing garden tips and tricks and checking in on progress. Make them often enough that any one individual can miss a meeting if they need to and not get left behind.

Buy Supplies

The only needed supplies are paper cups  a bag of planting soil and popsicle sticks. Split up the supplies when it gets closer to the time to start your seeds. Each person will purchase their own seeds. Start saving containers to use for splitting up the soil.

Sign Up Plant Starters

Pre-print a list or spreadsheet or gridded paper of all the plants you can think of that are typical for a garden in your area. Leave room for write-ins. Make a separate list for flowers or herbs.

Create columns for people to enter their name next to the plant under “I want [qty] seedlings”, and  “I will start these seeds”.  It is a good idea to have more than one person starting the same plant just in case there is a catastrophe and the seedlings fail. You might also consider that there is more than one variety of a particular vegetable so you might want one person planting one variety of melon and another planting a different melon.

Each person should sign up to start plants of one or more variety. Keep in mind that you have to have enough to go around your group and enough to give each person more than one. The amount per person is going to depend on the size of each person’s garden. No need to be rigid but at least try to do a count to see what the minimum will be.

Tips and Ideas

  • Have fun first and foremost
  • If someone has a seedling crop failure then just shrug it off. No need to exclude them from the exchange. If you have set up enough people planting a variety of plants then you should still share the bounty all around.
  • Share recipes for the vegetable crops that you are planting.
  • Take a field trip as a group to visit your local extension office gardening center.
  • Share your extras with people at church or in your workplace or neighborhood – spread the bounty!
  • Include children in your plant exchange and starting seeds.
  • At the end of the season, get together for some harvesting, canning and freezing.

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Comments (4)

What a great idea, Judith.  P.S.  Were you snooping in my kitchen drawer... that's where last year's seeds went to die!  :)

That's sooo funny. That is where mine usually end up too!

We have a Gardener's Group here in my locality and so we got to exchange seeds but also potted plants.

This is a fun thing to do!
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