What is a Seed Swap?

| Gardening Tips

New to a seed swap concept?
It is just like the cookie swaps that happen near the holidays, where everyone brings a plate of cookies. Then everyone goes around and makes a plate to take home with all the different types of cookies. This way you get a bunch of different types of cookies without our having to bake them all. Same concept just with native plant seeds instead of cookies. Just as we like having different cookies so does the ecosystem, the more types of seeds we can share the better! The best part is that you do not have to have seeds in order to enjoy this event. So come join us and find some new native plant seeds to grow in your garden!

Sounds great what’s my next step?
Don’t have seeds no problem people often bring in more than they take, to share with others. Make sure to have the event on the calendar and be ready to join the fun! On the day of the event, we just ask that you only take the seeds you know you will plant. This ensures other people have a chance at all the different seeds. Any leftovers will then be used by Wild Ones Capital Region NY or redistributed to other local organizations with like-minded missions.
If you have native plant seeds then make sure to register what seeds you will bring. This helps us have proper signage and space set up on the day of the event. 

I have registered my seeds now what?
Great our volunteers will check to make sure the seeds you are bringing are in fact native to New York. We use the wonderful online New York Flora Atlas. While you wait for the event try and clean off as much shaft as possible so you are just bringing in seeds. We want to leave the venue somewhat clean. Please bring seeds in any recycled container with a tight fitting lid that you have. On the outside of the container please write the Scientific Name, Common Name, the location of the plant harvested, and if you have the information if the plant was a volunteer or if you purchased it the name of the nursery you bought it from.

Harvesting and Cleaning Plant Seeds:
When harvesting seeds make sure you do not take more than 10% of the entire population of seeds. We want to make sure we leave seeds for several reasons. The biggest reason is to ensure the area being harvested has plenty of this species’ plant seeds in the soil waiting to continue growing. Seeds are also a great food source for wildlife so we need to make sure we leave some for the birds. Also remember to only harvest from your own property, it is against many park rules to take anything even if your intentions are beneficial. Last but not least make sure you do not damage any other native plants when trying to harvest seeds. For specific information type in or copy/paste the following “How to harvest seeds from” and then put in the name of the plant.

It is the day of the event!
If you have seeds we are asking you to drop them off at 10 am so we can get them all set up. If you would like to come back at the end of the event to collect any of your remaining seeds that is fine. Just keep in mind any seeds left unclaimed will still be put to good use.

When you are ready to select seeds from the swap one of our volunteers will have small envelopes for you to put seeds in and pens. It is up to you to write down as much or as little information as you desire on the envelope. Any additional signage must remain on the display but photographs are encouraged!

Why Native Plants?
Native plants have co-evolved with wildlife and our region’s growing conditions such as weather and soil types. Want more birds to visit your garden then skip the birdfeeders and houses. Native plants provide the food and materials birds need to eat and build their own homes, they really use all parts of the plant including the insects living on them.

Why Grow from Seed?
Since native plants have co-evolved with their environment then you want plants from your area. Most plants that are already grown and sold in nurseries are typically taken as cuttings to get a bigger plant faster. However, now we have a copy of the same plant but if we grow it from seeds it is a new plant on a genetic level. While we want to increase the quantity of native plants we don’t want to sacrifice quality. Now you are increasing the biodiversity by introducing new plant species but also increasing diversity in the genetic level which strengthens the overall health of our native plants. The closer the seed was harvested from your property the better success rate you will have. Not to mention it is cheaper to obtain seeds!