Community Seed Swap Ideas: Learn How To Plan A Seed Swap

Community Seed Swap Ideas: Learn How To Plan A Seed Swap

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Image by MonaMakela

Hosting a seed swap provides an opportunity to share seeds from heirloom plants or tried and true favorites with other gardeners in your community. You may even save a little money. How to organize a seed swap?  Read on for seed swap ideas.

How to Plan a Seed Swap

Hosting a seed swap in your community is not too difficult. Here are some tips to help get you started:

  • Plan a seed swap in fall, after seeds have been collected, or in spring around planting time.
  • Determine the best place to hold the sale. A small group can gather in your backyard, but if you expect a lot of people, a public space is better.
  • Get the word out. Pay for an ad or ask your local paper to include the sale in their schedule of events, which is often free. Print posters and flyers for distribution in the community. Share information on social media. Take advantage of community bulletin boards.
  • Think about the nuts and bolts when you plan a seed swap. For instance, will participants be required to register ahead of time? Will you charge admission? Do you need to borrow or bring tables? If so, how many? Will each participant have their own table, or will tables be shared?
  • Provide small packets or bags and stick-on labels. Encourage participants to write down the name of plant, variety, planting directions, and any other helpful information.
  • Unless you’re able to provide bulk seeds, consider a limit on how many seeds or varieties each person can take. Is it a 50/50 swap, or can participants take more than they bring?
  • Have a contact person who can provide guidelines and answer simple questions. Somebody should also be on hand at the sale to ensure seeds are properly packaged and labeled.

Your promotional information should state clearly that hybrid seeds won’t be accepted because they won’t grow true to type. Also, be sure people aren’t planning to bring old seeds. Most seeds are viable at least a couple of years or even longer if they’re properly stored.

How to Organize a Seed Swap

You may want to expand your seed swap ideas to a gardening event that includes talks or informational sessions. For instance, invite an experienced seed saver, heirloom plant aficionado, native plant expert, or master gardener.

Consider hosting a seed swap in conjunction with another event, such as a home show or agricultural conference.

Hosting a seed swap can even take place online. An online swap is usually ongoing. It can be a great way to develop an online gardening community and acquire seeds uncommon to your area.

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