Next Swap This Saturday Feb. 9

UPDATE, Feb. 8 — This event has been cancelled due to weather. Tentative new date is March 30. Please check back for confirmation. Thanks.

If you missed our first swap last weekend, don’t worry! Just head over to northeast Seattle this Saturday, Feb. 9 for “Hands On! A Community Skills Share-Fair.” We’ll be there with the seeds from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The free Skills Fair (see Facebook event) is presented by Sustainable Northeast Seattle, NE Seattle Tool Library and Meadowbrook Community Center and is being held at the center, 10517 35th Ave NE, Seattle. It offers an amazing array of DIY tips and skill-building workshops running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Paige with shoppers

Gardening tips abound. Learn to build productive soil, hammer together a worm bin, grow micro-greens, propagate houseplants or succulents, cultivate mushrooms, keep Mason bees, identify weeds and cultivate a compost bin. Whew! Better bring a notebook.

But that’s not all – far from it. Imagine yourself learning emergency toilet repair or “stop the bleed” techniques. If you know those things, how about simple bike repair, binding a book, or the basics of electrical wiring, pipe soldering and drywall repair.

As if that isn’t enough, there will be a lunch speaker talking about the Beacon Food Forest and buffet taco bar.

Sounds like an amazing day. But you had us at “Seed Swap!”

Sharing Tiny Treasures for This Year’s Edible Garden

Shaking their future vegetable garden out of glass jars laid out under headings like “Brassicas” and “Roots,” gardeners palmed new varieties and puzzled over plants they hadn’t yet tried. Handfuls of treasures were shared in the first Seed Swap of 2019 held by the King County Seed Lending Library on Saturday, Feb. 2. More than 100 people attended.

Seed Swap 2019 1

Many brought seeds and traded knowledge. Non-profit groups , including Tilth Alliance, P-Patch and the Seattle Tree Fruit Society, shared information at tables and in workshops.

KUOW’s reporter Ruby de Luna stopped by and recorded some interviews with coordinator Bill Thorness and some attendees for a very nice piece that aired on the public radio station on Tuesday, Feb. 5. Read and listen to it here.

Here are a few more images of the event:

Seed Swap 2019 5
Seed Swap 2019 4
Seed Swap 2019 3
Seed Swap 2019 2

Share Seeds, Plan Your Garden at the Seed Swaps

more shoppers 2017 swap

There will be plenty of beans and brassicas at the upcoming Seed Swap in Northwest Seattle. The King County Seed Lending Library also has seeds for salad greens and herbs and over 30 other vegetables.

But perhaps the most interesting edibles will be what’s not yet there. Gardeners seem to jump on the seeds brought in by their fellow seed-savers – so be sure to bring yours!

The KCSLL’s annual seed exchange for Northwest Seattle is coming Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Phinney Center. The Snoqualmie Valley Seed Exchange is also set for Feb. 2 in Duvall, and swaps are planned for Northeast Seattle on Feb. 9 and West Seattle on Feb. 24. Details.

Learn while sharing seeds

At the Northwest Seattle swap, Tilth Alliance, P-Patch, Sustainable Ballard, Seattle Tree Fruit Society and the PNA Tool Lending Library will all have folks and information there. Short workshops will talk about seed saving and seed starting.

Attendees are urged to bring seeds to share, but it is not required. The swaps are free and open to all.

How to participate:

  • Share only seeds of edible plants that your fellow gardeners would grow from seed, such as annual vegetables, herbs and edible flowers.
  • If donating packaged seed, it should be organic or open-pollinated, plant types that will produce seed true to the stated variety. Heirlooms are by definition open-pollinated.
  • If donating home-saved seed, please winnow and clean it off the stems or stalks as much as possible and bring only the seed.
  • If you can’t clean it in advance, plan to spend some time cleaning it the swap. Some swaps will have screens and buckets available.
  • All shared seed should be fresh, within three years of purchase or saving.
  • Label all seed donations with seed type, variety if known, and year it was grown/saved.
  • Bring envelopes and a pen to store and label your new seeds.

About the KCSLL

The King County Seed Lending Library (www.kingcoseed.org) operates four branches around Seattle and one in the Snoqualmie Valley. Each take seed donations and offer small quantities of seeds year round to local gardeners.

Share, Learn, Grow at Our Seed Swaps

Sprout some new ideas for your edible garden in January! Come to the annual Seed Swaps presented by our King County Seed Lending Library branches.

Along with seeds of favorite vegetables, you will find enthusiastic fellow gardeners to share their best varieties. Many attendees at last year’s swap brought their own seeds.

Seed Swaps will be Saturday, Feb. 2 in Northwest Seattle and Snoqualmie Valley, and Saturday, Feb. 9 in Northeast Seattle and Feb. 24 in West Seattle. (See details on our Events page.)

shoppers 2017 swap

At the swap, stick around to learn about both ends of the gardening year. There will be short workshops on seed starting and seed saving. If you save your own, you can make a deposit to the library’s seed bank at next year’s swap.

Bring your edible garden seed to share. It can be commercial or home-grown seed, but please follow these guidelines:

  • Share only seeds of edible plants that your fellow gardeners would grow from seed, such as annual vegetables, herbs and edible flowers.
  • If donating packaged seed, it should be organic or open-pollinated or heirloom.
  • If donating home-saved seed, please clean it off the stems or stalks and bring only the seed.
  • You can clean your seed at the swap. We will have screens and buckets available.
  • All shared seed should be fresh, within three years of purchase or saving.
  • Please label all donations with seed type, variety if known, and year it was grown/saved.

The Seed Swaps are free and open to all; bringing seed is not required.

The King County Seed Lending Library has five locations around the county, all operated by volunteers and supported solely by donations.

Seed donation

Give Back at Seed Homecoming Oct. 6

Are you saving seed from a crop you loved? Share it with us at our annual Seed Homecoming on Friday, October 6!

chard seed
Seed of Rainbow Chard being winnowed.

Perhaps you grew out a plant from a variety you got at our Seed Swap in January, or just have lots of leftover seed from your gardening purchases this year.

You can share seed and help others grow a garden by bringing your extra supply to our table at the Phinney Farmers Market in Northwest Seattle. The King County Seed Lending Library will be accepting seed from 4 to 7 p.m.

Our Seed Homecoming marks the end of the traditional growing season, when gardeners are getting ready to put their gardens to bed.

Seed sharing at the farmers market
KCSLL Coordinator Bill Thorness shares seeds with a farmers market attendee. Photo by Lee Harper.

Combat the Popularity Contest

Saving seed is a vital step in keeping alive our most-beloved or possibly rare varieties of edible plants.

In a marketplace ruled by popularity, where only the best-selling varieties are propogated, the future diversity of our gardens may depend on our tenacity in keeping alive a wide selection of cultivars.

What Seeds We’re Seeking

The King County Seed Lending Library, now with five branches, has the capacity to store and distribute a lot of seed, but we focus on particular types of seed.

  • Please donate only seeds of edible plants that your fellow gardeners would grow from seed, such as annual vegetables, herbs and edible flowers.seed in jars
  • If donating packaged seed, it should be organic or open-pollinated, plant types that will produce seed true to the stated variety.
  • If donating home-saved seed, please winnow and clean it off the stems or stalks as much as possible and bring only the seed.
  • If you can’t clean it in advance, plan to spend some time cleaning it at our booth. We will have screens and buckets available.
  • All donated seed should be fresh, within three years of purchase or saving.
  • Please label all donations with seed type, variety if known, and year it was grown/saved.

Bonus: This year, thanks to a donation from our friends at the Seattle Farm Co-op, we will be giving away a small amount of mixed cover crop seed to anyone who brings seed for donation (or to anyone who stops at the booth, if we have enough to share). This is the perfect time to plant a cover crop to help enrich your soil on empty garden beds over the winter.