The Great Chicago Seed Swap at Chicago Flower & Garden Show

The Great Chicago Seed Swap at Chicago Flower & Garden Show

On Sunday, March 11th, I’ll be hosting the first ever seed swap at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show. The swap starts at 3 p.m. outside the “White House Let’s Move Garden.” See below for full details.

This is a seed swap, meaning, you bring a packet of seeds and you can exchange it for a different packet of seeds. Ideally, these are seeds you’ve saved from your personal garden. Seeds that are allowed are vegetables, herbs, annuals and perennials that come true. That means hybrid seeds are out of the question because there’s no quarantine that the seeds will produce plants like the one you saved from.

How will the seed swap work?
Seed will be laid out on three tables. Once it seems we have everyone gathered for the seed swap and all the seeds are arranged we’ll begin the swapping. For every seed pack you check into the swap, you can take one back. The seed will be available until we run out.

How to prepare your seeds.
Your seeds should be packaged in paper coin envelopes or plastic baggies–like the ones used for holding crafting beads. See here for examples of the envelopes. In addition, the seed packet should be clearly labeled with the type of seed it contains and the common name. “Yellow tomato. Very pretty,” isn’t much help to anyone. “‘Aunt Ruby’s’ yellow cherry tomato” has just about all the info a gardener could need to research it. I suggest a minimum of 5 seeds per packet of larger seeds like watermelons, beans and the like. 10 seeds minimum for small seeds like basil, poppies and lettuce.

Volunteers. The following garden bloggers have tentatively agreed to volunteer. They’ll be on hand to help make sure the seed swap goes smoothly and possibly answer questions.

How Does Your Garden Grow

Garden Girl

My Skinny Garden

Forest Park Community Garden

What if you don’t have seeds to trade?

I’ll have a limited amount of seeds for people who do not have seeds to trade, but I can’t make any guarantee* that there will be enough for everyone. To date I’ve received seed donations from Territorial Seed Company, Baker Creek, Renee’s Garden, Grow Organic and High Mowing Organic Seeds. Bring your own envelopes for sampling of these seeds as they’ll be rationed out. Also, the D. Landreth Seed Company booth will return to the Chicago Flower & Garden Show and I recommend them for buying seeds and seed potatoes.

Where can I learn more?

Mike Nowak has graciously agreed to help promote the seed swap. On the morning of the swap I’ll be on The Mike Nowak Show to talk about The Great Chicago Seed Swap. You can call in with questions or comments that morning and we’ll try to answer them.

If you use Facebook, I’ve created a Facebook event for the seed swap to help remind you. NOTE: Sunday is when the clocks jump forward an hour. Plan according.

If you’re interested in donating seeds or helping out, I’ll be there early to set up the tables. If you’re bringing bulk seed and are a blogger or part of an organization I suggest providing your URL/email on your packets so people can contact you. Questions or comments can be left here on this blog post. You can comment with a ChicagoNow account or use your Facebook account to login and comment.

*@SnarkyVegan on Twitter pointed out I published my post with the word quarantine* when I meant guarantee. Ha! But now that I think about it, I should probably examine seeds as they come in.

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