Start Gardening Season With Our Seed Swaps

Laura got Painted Lady heirloom runner beans, and Frank scored some seeds of Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato, an heirloom squash. If you want to grow heirlooms in your garden this year, look for seeds of these “plantsshoppers 2017 swap with character” at the annual Seed Swaps, being held by the King County Seed Lending Library in January and February.

The first seed swap will be Saturday, Jan. 27 in Northwest Seattle. Three more swaps will be held Feb. 10: one in Northeast Seattle, one in South Seattle and the other in Duvall in the Snoqualmie Valley. A fifth swap will be in West Seattle on Feb. 25.

more shoppers 2017 swap

The swaps include seed sharing and education. 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.

Details of each swap:

Northwest Seattle: Sat., Jan. 27, 1-4 p.m., Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., in the Community Hall of the Brick Building, http://kingcoseed.org/events/

Snoqualmie Valley: Sat., Feb. 10, 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m., Cedarcrest High School, 29000 NE 150th St., Duvall, http://snoqualmievalleyseedexchange.org

South Seattle: Sat. Feb. 10, noon-4 p.m., Seattle Farm Co-op, 5133 South Director Street, Seattle, http://www.seattlefarmcoop.com/

Northeast Seattle: Sat., Feb. 10, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Meadowbrook Community Center, NE 105th and 35th Ave/ NE, http://sustainableneseattle.ning.com/events/save-the-date-viii-annual-handson-a-community-skills-share-fair

West Seattle: Sunday, Feb. 25, 2-3:30 p.m., Seattle Public Library, West Seattle Branch, 2306 42nd Ave. SW, www.seattlefarmschool.com

and more shoppers 2017 swap

About the KCSLL

The King County Seed Lending Library 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.

Seed Swap Scenes

An estimated 150 gardeners attended the Great Seattle Seed Swap yesterday, scooping small handfuls of seeds into packets, sitting in on short workshops, and visiting with non-profits and Krista Rome from guest seed company Resilient Seeds. It felt good to rub elbows with other gardeners intent on planning their 2017 vegetable garden, even though it’s too early to plant.

Here are some images from the event.

Paige
Paige, assisted by online searches, helped shoppers identify traits of plant varieties offered.
Checking a list
An attendee checked a list of desired seeds.
P-Patch
P-Patch staff warmly greeted gardeners and shared info on their program.
Seed ball workshop
Christy of the Seattle Farm Co-op added water to a soil-and-seed mixture that was turned into “seed balls” filled with pollinator-attracting flower seeds for a young attendee.
Laura from Seattle Tilth shared tips on basic seed saving in a well-attended workshop.
giant allium seedhead
A giant allium seedhead contributed by an attendee.
Legume table
Beans and peas were popular.
Shopping
Attendees lined the tables to package and share seeds. Many brought packages from their own gardens.
Seed screen
A seed screen at a demo table.

If you couldn’t attend this one, see our Events listing for more area seed swaps.

Clean Seeds at Saturday’s Swap

Want to try your hand at cleaning some seeds? We’ll be doing it this Saturday at the Great Seattle Seed Swap.

We have a bunch of seeds to clean, from easy beans to tiny radish seeds, both in their pods and ready for shelling. But we also have orach, mustard and arugula. You clean it, you can take it home!

Seeds to be cleaned
A variety of seeds are waiting to be cleaned at this Saturday’s swap.
Seed screens
What does a softball have to do with seed cleaning? Come and find out this Saturday at the seed swap!

You don’t have to clean seeds (or bring them) to participate in the Great Seattle Seed Swap.

We have many seeds for sharing, all neatly organized and labeled in glass jars. We have envelopes for you to package a few that look interesting. We have a resource table for you to research seeds of interest. And we’ll have people on hand to suggest how to grow those seeds to become a great part of your garden.

Four Seed Swaps Coming: Learn and Share

Details are coming together for the Great Seattle Seed Swap, sponsored by the King County Seed Lending Library. Three swaps are planned around the city, with a fourth being held by our friends in the Snoqualmie Valley.

The first event is the 4th annual Seed Swap in Northwest Seattle (share our Facebook event), set for Saturday, Jan. 28, which is National Seed Swap Day. Get some seeds, visit with exhibitors Seattle Tilth, P-Patch, Resilient Seeds and the Seattle Farm Co-op, and enjoy three 15-minute workshops.

 Details of each swap:

Northwest Seattle: Sat., Jan. 28, 1-3 p.m., Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., in the Community Hall of the Brick Building

Snoqualmie Valley: Sat., Feb. 4, 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m., Cedarcrest High School, 29000 NE 150th St., Duvall

Northeast Seattle: Sat., Feb. 11, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Meadowbrook Community Center, NE 105th and 35th Ave/ NE

West Seattle: date/time TBA

How to participate:

  • Please bring seeds if you have them. They can be homegrown or store-bought — even partially used packets. They should be recent, 3 years old or less. No hybrids or GMO seeds.
  • If you will be bringing seeds to swap, please arrive at the beginning of the event to set out your seeds.
  • Make a display card for your seeds stating the variety, year saved, and brief notes about growing the plant.
  • It is not necessary to bring seeds to participate.
  • Seeds will be organized by type of vegetables, herbs and edible flowers.
  • Attendees will be asked to limit the seeds they take so all may share in the supply.
  • You may donate your extra seeds to the seed lending library, which will have them available throughout the year.

At the Northwest Seattle event, enjoy these 15-minute workshops:

1:30-1:45 Basic Seed Saving – Laura Matter, Seattle Tilth

2:00-2:15 Make a Seed Ball! – Christy Cusick, Seattle Farm Co-op

2:30-2:45 Meet Our Bioregional Seed Companies – Bill Thorness, KCSLL

A resource table of books, seed catalogs and other material will be available for browsing.

At the Northeast Seattle event on Feb. 11, gardening author Bill Thorness, coordinator of the Northwest Seattle library branch, will give a lunchtime talk on seed starting and the seed-saving movement at noon.

Contact us to volunteer for a seed swap!

Join Us at Great Seattle Seed Swap, Jan. 28

Want to try Brightest Brilliant Quinoa? How about Roquette Arugula? Vit Corn Salad? Maybe Pellegrini Beans, Purple Orach, or the simple but beautiful Lemon Queen Sunflower? They’ll all be at our Great Seattle Seed Swap and ready for your garden.

The 4th annual Seed Swap will be held Saturday, Jan. 28, 1-3 p.m., at the Phinney Neighborhood Center in northwest Seattle (Community Hall, Brick Building, enter from lower parking lot).

  • Chat with other gardeners and seed-savers about favorite varieties.
  • Review the library’s table of catalogs, books and resources.
  • Visit the Seattle Tilth table for information on their programs.
  • Attend a brief workshop.

Want to make a “seed ball”? That’s one of the 15-minute workshops that will be offered at the event. Others will be on simple seed saving and learning about our bioregional seed companies.

See our Events page for other swaps.

For more information or to volunteer, drop us a line!