If you’d like to host a seed exchange and trade garden seeds, National Seed Swap Day is a great day to do so! Held every year on the last Saturday of January, this is a great way to swap seeds with friends near and far.
Host a Seed Exchange and Trade Garden Seeds
I also have a free printable seed packet template for blog subscribers, so read on for all the deets!
Benefits of trading seeds!
There are a lot of benefits that you might not think about when it comes to seed exchanges. Swapping seeds is a great way build your seed inventory. It can also be a way to share seeds you have in abundance, and it can help you find seeds that might be hard to source.
It also has even more benefits, such as helping promote biodiversity and preserving rare plant varieties. In this day an age of very little diversity in commercial agriculture, participating in the age-old swapping practice is an easy and fun way to help the environment, make new friends, and discover new favorite plant varieties.
What you need to host a seed exchange
You don’t need a lot to host your own seed exchange – but there are a few things you will need:
1. Seeds – either seeds you have saved yourself or seeds you have in abundance. If you save your own seeds, make sure they are from open-pollinated plants. Heirloom varieties are also fantastic for saving, but you cannot legally save GMO seeds.
You should also be careful if you’re saving seeds from hybrid plants because they might not reproduce true. As long as you don’t mind a little mystery, that’s fine. But if you are swapping seeds with a group of people, it might be a better idea to pass along seeds where you’re assured of the outcome. Read more about the different types of seeds here.
If you don’t have any seeds, you can always order seeds from your favorite seed supplier and share that way.
2. Envelopes or some sort of seed storage method. Feel free to download my seed saving envelope! It’s free for blog subscribers and works very well for seed exchanges.
3. A seed swapping group of friends
Where to find participants for your seed swap
If you’d like to host a seed swap but aren’t sure where to find people, start among your friends. Local friends are always convenient because you could meet up to swap. It’s also possible to do a seed exchange through the mail.
I have participated in several seed exchanges through the mail and this year I am hosting my own seed swap! We found our group on instagram. The rules were simple, and the seeds go out today!
How to Exchange Seeds Through the Mail
To host a seed swap through the mail, first decide on the number of participants. The group can be as big or as small as you’d like. I think ten is a good number, but it’s your call!
- Find participants – social media is a great place to find willing friends. Asking a couple people to join in is a great way to start. Then, perhaps they know people who’d also like to participate.
- Decide how many people you’d like in your group. How many is too many? How many is not enough?
- Decide on a host. Who should compile all the seeds and take responsibility for mailing them back out?
- Decide on a date – when would you like to have all the seeds?
- Decide on a fee – should everyone contribute a little bit of money to cover shipping and envelopes? $5 per person covered envelope purchase and postage for our little group of 11.
- Decide on a minimum amount of seeds. Ideally, you’ll send enough seeds to each person so they have a reasonable amount to grow the crop. Good guidelines might be 15 to 25 seeds for smaller crops (beans, corn, flowers, herbs, etc); 5 or so for larger crops like pumpkins or squash.
- Make sure your seed packets are secure so seeds don’t fall out during mailing. It might be a good idea to add a little extra tape just to be safe!
Get My Free Seed Envelope Template
- To assemble, print then cut out the template.
- Fold on the straight lines.
- Glue the sides together first, then the bottom. Add a little tape to the bottom just to make it extra secure.
- Then write out instructions.
- Add seeds.
- Seal the lid with tape. Done!
And that’s it! Get to packaging and head to the post office. Have fun when your seeds arrive! Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and get instant access to my free seed saving envelope!
Have you participated in a seed exchange? I’d love to hear about your experience!