So I did a thing. I joined a seed exchange and it is AMAZING! So you may be wondering what exactly a seed exchange is. Well, pretty much it’s pretty much like pen palling but with seeds, which is so much cooler!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
If you are curious what Facebook seed exchange group I am in it is called “I Got Seeds! You Got Seeds“. I also have a page listing all the seeds that I have available for trading so if you are interested you should check out my heirloom seed page and send me an email!
Make sure you confirm the number of seeds that you will be exchanging. So far the typical that I have seen is between 5-10 seeds. For things like lettuce and carrots that have loads of seeds, personally, I send more than 10. Just make sure you communicate with the person you are exchanging with and agree on the number of seeds.
Unless you are sending an epic haul of seeds, chances are you are going to be sending through the regular letter mail. It is important to know that mail sorting is not a delicate process. It involves a lot of machines, conveyor belts and rollers. So rather than use a regular envelope it is better to use one of those little padded ones. This will help to avoid the crappy situation of your seed exchange partner receiving crushed seeds.
Check your stash (before you offer)
I think it was my first exchange and I had to suck it up and reach back to the person and apologize for offering seeds that I had run out of. Trust me it’s embarrassing so you are better off checking before you get over-excited and offer seeds up that you don’t currently have. It’s also good to keep a list of what seeds you need to save in the current year.
Know the type of seed you are getting
If you’re in a seed exchange then chances are you are:
- Obsessed with seeds
- Are an avid gardener
- Are into organic gardening
- Grow heirloom seeds
- Save your seeds
One or more of those may be true. But if number 4 and/or 5 is true then you will want to make sure that the seeds you are going to receives are open pollinated heirlooms rather than hybrids. If only 1-3 applies to you then hybrids may be just fine. In any case it pays to know and be clear what you are trading so that you can avoid disappointment later.
It’s amazing how one thing can lead to another in some magical cosmic way. I posted this picture of my garden in one of the gardening Facebook groups I am a member of. I mean it’s a gorgeous picture and I am damn proud of the garden, but I had no idea what it would lead to!
A woman in the group, Diana, commented on the red lettuce and I offered to trade her seeds. Many Facebook messages later, after deciding that I would send her some of my garnet rose lettuce, watermelon radish and wasabi radish seeds in exchange for some rouge d’hiver, costata romanesca and cocozelle Italian zucchini seeds she mentioned a Facebook seed sharing group.
So let’s look at a few reasons (other than Kajari melons) that you need to join a seed exchange! Because there are quite a few.
1. Meet fellow gardeners
If you’re like me then you probably care a lot more about seeds and gardening that those around you do. So instead of watching their eyes roll to the back of their heads (again) as you talk about your seeds or what your plants did today (again). It can be super refreshing to be able to chat with other people that understand the joy you feel when your seeds germinate or your seedlings get their first true leaves.
2. Save money
If you’re trading seeds then you’re not buying seeds. Which in my case saves me a lot of money as until I found out about seed exchanges, I was buying a tonne of seeds! The great thing about trading heirloom seeds is that all you have to do is grow them and let some of the fruits mature so you can save seeds and have a bunch to grow the next year.
3. Get rare seeds
When you are trying to track down that must have or hard to find seed what better way to find it than to poll the audience. Especially when the audience is also seed obsessed! I have been wanting to get my hands on some Kajari melon seeds after seeing a vlog from Jess over at Roots and Refuge farm talking about her role in increasing the popularity of this gorgeous melon.
I of course check on my go-to heirloom seed site Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds but they were sold out. After joining the seed exchange group it was the first thing I asked for. It took literally 5 minutes and someone commented that they had them along with the pattypan squash I was also looking for!!! So we quickly set up a trade for some of my black beauty and lucid gem tomato seeds for the much-coveted Kajari melon and pattypan squash seeds! I couldn’t believe my luck in finding someone that had both!
4. Get more than just seeds
I was in the midst of bartering a seed exchange and the woman, Melanie, realized she wanted a tonne more of my seeds than I wanted of hers. So she asked if I would like a set of her gorgeous custom made bobby pins to even out the exchange. I was ecstatic as I have honestly been looking for a set just like the ones she offered me. On top of that, they were way better quality than the ones I have seen. So as part of the trade, I landed myself some serrano peppers and purple calabash tomatoes and a beautiful set of bobby pins! If you’re interested in the bobby pins you can check out Melanie’s Etsy shop here.
5. Get advice
The best person to ask about the seeds you just got is the person who just sent them to you! Ask them about the best growing conditions, harvesting and their experience with that variety. It’s such a great resource! Maybe you want to know more about raised beds gardening, square foot gardening or companion planting. Well, these are the people to ask!
So are you currently part of a seed exchange? What is that one seed that you are desperately trying to get your hands on?