Monday, April 16, 2007

On Seed Trading

If you have a surplus of seeds either collected from your garden or extras from seed packets you bought you may find that there are other gardeners who are willing to trade you seeds. Seed trading is a great way of diversifying the types of plants you grow in your garden and can even save you a little money.

Sow half of the seeds you purchase or collect and trade the other half on Seed Exchanges like the one on the gardening site, GardenWeb. When you're new to trading make sure you have a list either on-line or stored on your computer and properly labeled. Because seed viability can vary you may be asked when you collected the seeds and whether or not they were open pollinated.

Seeds should be mailed in bubble enveloped or heavily padded so they are not crushed by the postal service. If seeds are sent in regular envelopes they are put through mechanical sorters that can crush them. There is nothing worse than receiving your end of a seed trade only to discover that the contents are nothing more than seed dust.

If you're new to seed trading consider starting out small until you build a reputation with gardeners and they know you can be trusted with more expensive and rarer seeds. Many gardeners and plant enthusiasts are very serious when it comes to seed trades and often time they may already have the variety you are offering.

Think of your seeds like currency, for example a trade of Marigold seeds are a penny and a trade of Columbine seeds are a quarter. Would you accept a penny in exchange for a quarter? Make your seed trades of equal value or consider doing multiples of something to equal the value.

Gardeners are generous people and if you spend any time on gardening forums you'll find that someone is offering a S.A.S.E what this stands for is Self Addressed Stamped Envelope. In these instances the gardener is offering seeds for free and you only need to send a bubble envelope with enough postage so that seeds can be mailed to you. In many forums it is considered rude or completely against protocol to ask for S.A.S.E when you join. Generally you should read the gardening forum's FAQ and familiarize yourself with the rules. There may be rules against you asking for free seeds but there generally aren't any rules about you responding to a S.A.S.E. It's better to be cautious and not ask for seeds even if you see other people doing it and just wait until a generous gardener offers free seeds.

When you have completed a seed trade get into the practice of sending an e-mail to the other gardener informing them that you have received the seeds. If you have a problem or are unsatisfied consider bring it to their attention and trying to work out the problem.

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