First Seed Swap of 2020 Set for Jan. 25, Two More on Feb. 8

Sprout some new ideas for your edible garden! Come to the annual Great Seattle Seed Swap hosted at the Phinney Center by the King County Seed Lending Library.

Oregon Sugar Pod II peas

The Northwest Seattle swap will be Saturday, January 25, 2-4 p.m. in the Community Center of the PNA’s Brick Building (lower parking lot).

If you can’t make that one,two more swaps will be held on Saturday, February 8, one in northeast Seattle and the other in the Snoqualmie Valley town of Duvall. (See our Events page for details on these swaps.)

Along with seeds of favorite vegetables, you will find enthusiastic fellow gardeners eager to share their best varieties. Nearly half of the 100 attendees at last year’s Northwest Seattle swap brought their own seeds. But bringing seeds to swap is not required.

What’s more, generous seed organizations are sharing seed with us. Oregon’s Adaptive Seeds, Bellingham’s Resilient Seeds and the Organic Seed Alliance from the Olympic Peninsula are all contributing unique varieties for Seattle gardeners to try. (A huge note of thanks to them for their contributions!)

At the swap, stick around to learn about both ends of the gardening year, from sowing to harvest–and beyond. There will be short workshops on seed saving and other gardening topics. If you learn to save some of your own seeds at harvest time, you can make a deposit to the library’s seed supply at next year’s swap!

Tilth Alliance, Seattle Tree Fruit Society, Sustainable Ballard and the PNA Tool Lending Library will be on hand to share information and more gardening opportunities. Also, there will be a table of seed catalogs and books for research, and a table with supplies for cleaning and processing your seed.

Bring your edible garden seed to share if you have it. 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.
Purple peas in flower

We hope you can join us to learn and share the joys of growing our own food from seed. The seed swaps are free and open to all.

See event updates on our Facebook event page.

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

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

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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!