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.

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.

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!

Our new site

Welcome to our new website. We are evolving our online presence to Pea shootbetter serve our community.

Most of the seed-saving articles, resources and links have been moved over from the old site. If you do not find something that you previously saw on our old site, drop us a line and we’ll try to get it for you.

Are you a web expert? We’re always looking for enthusiastic volunteers to share their talents, and would welcome help with our website.

Contact us at info@kingcoseed.org for more information or to offer your help. Thanks!