Friday, January 7, 2011

Seed exchange

As I read over the many posts about plans for this year's garden, I am struck by how many people have seed for varieties of fruits and vegetables that didn't perform well in the area, that they didn't like because of taste or texture or some other reason. I am already an admitted seed addict and this has gotten me to thinking about a local seed exchange. Why not exchange seeds your are not going to use for whatever reason among a group of gardeners to get something else to try? Locally, I know of seed exchanges, where you take what you have to sell to others, but I don't see why a straight forward exchange can't be just as useful. When I was growing up, my grandparents rarely bought seeds. They saved seed from their garden each year. My great grandparents gave seed to my grandparents to start their first gardens. When my grandmother would buy a seed packet or family in the neighborhood would, then seed would be shared and at the end of the growing season, if it was something they liked, then they would continue their seed saving into the next year. My grandparents gave seed to my father, although he was an avid gardener and I loved looking through catalogs with him to pick new things that he would try. Still, this were tried a few each year with seed saving and exchanging creating the bulk of his seed. Like my profile says, there was a period of time that I only kept ornamental plants or lawns like most in urban or suburban environments so one of the things that has been lost to me is the heritage of handing down seeds. My grandparents grew gardens until they were in their 70's. Both have passed away in the last year. I have been going to my mother's and going through things to see if they held on to seed to test them for viability. Of course, none of them are marked with any kind of label. They grew the tomato they grew their whole lives, the same with every other vegetable they grew. So I think that seed exchange is a proper homage to their thriftyness and foresight to use what they needed and trade what they didn't for something they did.

What do you think of a seed exchange and would you participate in one if it were available to you?

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