Join Tilth for Learning at Seed Swap

The Great Seattle Seed Swap is just around the corner — coming on Saturday, Feb. 24, 1-4 p.m. at the Phinney Center. Bring your home-saved or leftover packets of seeds, or just come to pick up some new varieties and talk seeds with other gardeners.

This year a series of presentations by Tilth Alliance will deepen your understanding of seed-saving.

Make some time for these hands-on activities and fun educational presentations:

  • 1:30 p.m. — Beginner Friendly Seed Saving
    • We’ll discuss the basic biology of seed saving and share some beginner-friendly recommendations to get started saving (and then sharing!) your own seeds.
  • 2:30 p.m. — Harvesting Seeds
    • How do you know if your seeds are mature and ready to harvest? We’ll discuss how to assess seed maturity and some strategies for harvesting.
  • 3:30 p.m. — Basics of Wet & Dry Processing
    • Join us to experience a demonstration and explanation of common wet & dry seed processing techniques. We’ll share a demonstration and give folks an opportunity to get some hands-on practice.

There will be a table with seeds and screens where you can try your hand at seed harvesting–and take home some freshly harvested seed!

seeds on a swap table

You can also ask questions and learn from these great nonprofits that will be tabling: The Garden Hotline, Master Composters/Sustainability Stewards, Seattle Tree Fruit Society, Sustainable Ballard, Rainwise, Seattle REconomy.org, Sustainable NE Seattle and City Fruit.

And if you’d like to bring seeds (not required), make sure they’re labeled with the variety name and date, bring only seeds that are not too old to plant (2021 or later). You can even bring cuttings or divisions of edible plants if you’d like.

The event is shaping up to be the best one in our 10-plus years. Join us there!

Follow our Facebook event for updates, and let us know you’re coming!

Get Ready to Swap Seeds and Discover Great New Crops

Saturday, February 24, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

It’s time to start getting ready for the gardening season and that means… seeds!

Join the King County Seed Lending Library and new partner Tilth Alliance for the Great Seattle Seed Swap, a fun, family friendly community event at the Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA). Learn more about seeds and seed saving throughout the day with educational presentations and family-friendly hands-on activities!

Follow our Facebook event for updates, and let us know you’re coming!

From greens to roots to legumes to brassicas, the Great Seattle Seed Swap always has lots of vegetable varieties to try. Looking for something new or unusual for your garden this year? These seed swap tables will have all kinds of seeds for your edible, medicinal and floral gardens. We welcome you to add your labeled extra seeds to the mix and take lots home, too.

What is a community seed swap? A family-friendly gathering for gardeners of all experience levels to share seeds, gardening resources and connect with each other. Bring your garden-saved seeds, excess seeds you have from opened packets or just yourself if you’re just getting started. We’ll have some seeds to share, too.

Some fantastic greening organizations and community partners will join us with tables of their own. Get your gardening questions answered, learn about growing fruit in your yard, and find out how to borrow tools from a community tool library.

These great groups will be on hand:

  • The Garden Hotline
  • Master Composter and Sustainability Stewards
  • Seattle Tree Fruit Society
  • Sustainable Ballard/Rainwise
  • Sustainable NE Seattle and REconomy.org
  • The Phinney Tool Lending Library
  • City Fruit
  • …and more

Guidelines for bringing seeds to share:

  • Please make sure seeds are labeled with crop and variety name and date.
  • Please only bring seeds that are not too old to plant (2021 or later is a good guideline).
  • Feel free to bring cuttings or divisions from garden plants, too.

You don’t have to bring seeds to enjoy this event – we’ll have plenty to share. See you there!

The seed swap will be held in the PNA’s Community Hall of the Brick Building (use lower parking lot).

PBS: Svalbard Seed Vault More Vital, Imperiled by Climate Change

Inside the Arctic Circle, set into the permafrost, the Global Seed Vault protects the future of the planet’s food crops. This initiative in Svalbard, Norway has been collecting the world’s seeds since 1984 and is the world’s most essential seed bank.

But today, even as the practice of saving our diminishing plant diversity is more important than ever, it is also more imperiled. Climate change is, of course, the cause.

The bay beyond the seed vault portal is now ice-free in the winter due to climate change. Photo: Crop Trust under Creative Commons license

The PBS Newshour took a look at the vault and its challenges and it is fascinating, sobering viewing. Watch the segment.

What Will You Grow? Find New Treasures at the Seed Swap!

It’s always exciting to try new edible crops in the garden. Not only do you keep things fresh, which is a great goal for life as well as the kitchen, but a bit of a challenge can turn into a delightful achievement.

So why not try a new variety at the Great Seattle Seed Swap?

Browse the tables under signs for crop categories like Salad Greens, Tomatoes or Brassicas (and find out what Brassicas are-it’s OK if you don’t know). Ask another swapper what they’ve tried. Look up a variety in the stack of catalogs on a nearby table. Then just shake a few seeds into a packet, label it, and take home your treasure.

The goal of the King County Seed Lending Library is to celebrate seed. Sending you home with a new variety that may surprise you when it pops up out of the soil is the best way.

What seeds will be at the Swap?

The lending library has a supply of seeds donated by gardeners and seed companies that range from salad greens to squashes.

Some people will come to the swap with their extra seed packets or home-saved seeds (it’s not required but encouraged, just like masking!). And every year a couple of seed companies send us donations of seed to share.

This year we will enjoy selections from our friends at Adaptive Seeds in Bellingham and High Mowing Organic Seeds in Vermont. Seed from two wonderful corners of the country!

We can’t list all the types of crops and varieties that will be on the tables, but that’s part of the fun. Come and find out!

Thank you Adaptive Seeds for this cheery delivery!
Bundles of High Mowing seeds wait to be discovered.

What else happens at the Swap?

Glad you asked! Some fantastic greening organizations and community partners will join us with tables of their own. Get your gardening questions answered, learn about growing fruit in your yard, and find out how to borrow tools from a community tool library!

These great groups will be on hand:

If you want a bit of education with your seeds, we will also hold a short talk on the basics of seed saving.

The Great Seattle Seed Swap is Saturday, April 1, 2-4 p.m., at the Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., in the Community Hall of the Brick Building. See our Facebook event.

Get Growing with the ‘Great Seattle Seed Swap’

Looking for a new taste from your edible garden? From greens to roots to legumes, the Great Seattle Seed Swap has a vegetable variety for everyone. In fact, seeking old or unusual varieties that you might not find in the seed racks is one reason people come to the King County Seed Lending Library seed swap.

The seed swap will be Saturday, April 1, 2-4 p.m., at the Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., in the Community Hall of the Brick Building. See our Facebook event.

The seed swap includes seed sharing and education. This year, a short class will be held on seed-saving basics.

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. We 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.

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

The King County Seed Lending Library operates a network of locations taking seed donations and offering small quantities of seeds year-round to local gardeners.