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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Seed Swaps

Seed Swaps can give you all sorts of tomato varieties like these seedlings from jspatchwork on FlickrSeed swaps and plant swaps are the easiest way to get a wide variety of vegetables in your garden without having to go to specialty nurseries or throw away perfectly good seed!

Most packets of seeds that you get for tomatoes, squashes, cucumbers, eggplants and pumpkins have far too many seeds for the average gardener to truly be able to make use of. Particularly tomatoes! You’re best off planting a couple three varieties of those if you have the room, so you can hedge against a cool summer and still have tomatoes or an extra hot summer and still have tomatoes. Besides, there are so many wonderful varieties, I can’t imagine why a common backyard gardener would choose to only grow the thirty or so plants that one package of Roma tomato seeds would produce even if they had room for thirty tomato plants.

Enter seed and plant swaps! It’s a marvelous way to break the winter doldrums and get you out of the house, get your gardening blood flowing and meet other gardeners. If you cannot locate a seed swap already happening in your area, set one up! All you need is an afternoon, probably on a week-end, and some table space. Put up some flyers, announce it on your local Craig’s List calendar and folks with seeds to spare will have a gathering place to share their bounty and curiosities. Now is a good time to start, but even as late as April for most areas will work. You might even want to have a couple of them so that at the second one people can bring the bedding plants and vegetable starts that they have extra.

Here’s a list of on line seed swapping sites to get you started.

National Gardening Association Seed Swap

Old Farmer’s Almanac Seed Swap

Seed Swaps

Seed Swap on ThriftyFun

Seed Exchange

There’s another seed swapping forum on Craig’s List; go to your local Craig’s List page and click on any of the forums shown on the front page. Once the forum has loaded, go up to your address bar in your browser and change whatever the last numbers are to 7333 and you’ll be in the Seeds and Plants Swap Forum for your area.

Here’s a little incentive! I’ll send five Hubbard squash seeds to each of the first six people who comment here and ask for them. If you don’t have room for Hubbards, let’s chat and see what I might have in my seed box that would work for you…and there’s lots! I love seeds…they’re just so full of potential; they seem to know it, and follow me home. I’m seriously cramped for space when I’m not guerrilla gardening, so I have several compact varieties of various vegetables. But Hubbard squash is probably what I have the most of and they are so incredible and tasty! Besides—they store like rocks and livestock love them.

So get swappin’!

This week in the garden:
21-22 Any root crops that can be planted now will do well.
23-24 Barren days. Fine for clearing, plowing, fertilizing and killing plant pests.
25-26 Plant peppers, sweet corn, tomatoes, and other above-ground crops in southern Florida, California, and Texas. Extra good for cucumbers, peas, cantaloupes, and other vine crops. Set strawberry plants.
27-28 Seeds planted now will grow poorly and yield little.


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