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.

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  • 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.

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.