Some people have a wealth of plant seeds left over at the end of the gardening season. Some folks can never find seed particular garden plant they want at the beginning of the season. It's a match made in heaven. Whether you have seeds to trade or a seed wish list that's gone unfulfilled, Seed Exchanges are worth a look.
The swaps listed here are all available on the web. If your favorite seed exchange is not listed, please drop me a line at my email.
Free Membership Swaps
Many online sites offer members the opportunity to post what they have or what they're looking for on the forum pages. The following sites offer seed swaps to participants. You will probably have to register, but there is no fee.
- Backyard Gardener Seed Exchange
- GardenWeb's Seed Exchange
- Gone to Seed
- Yahoo Groups lists 93 seed exchange groups started by users including groups devoted to perennials, left over seed, heirlooms and rare and exotic, Pagans exchanging herbs, rain forest plants and lots of Florida swaps.
Paid Membership Swaps
Some Organizations offer seed exchanges to their paid membership. If it's a type of plant you particularly like, these can be great deals, saving you money in the long run for seeds you would buy anyway. Here are a handfull worth checking out.
Seed Saving Organizations
Finally some organizations are completely devoted to saving and exchanging seed.
Not only do they have incredible variety, but they usually offer a great deal of additional knowledge.
- Garden State Heirloom Seed Society (Delaware, NJ) Devoted to the biodiversity of New Jersey and the mid-Atlantic area. Coordinates a members seed exchange.
- The Heritage Seed Library (U.K.) Associated with The Henry Doubleday Research Association. They promote organic gardening and heirloom seed preservation. The Library sponsors a members seed swap in addition to selling from their vast reserves of unusual and endangered seed.
- Seeds of Diversity (Canada) They have an annual Seed Exchange where members are able to obtain samples of over 1,500 varieties of seeds and plants offered by other members in exchange for return postage. They also offer Seedy Saturdays where members host demonstrations and different kinds of events depending on the venue, but they always offer seeds for sale to the public.
- Seed Savers Exchange (Decorah, Iowa) This is the Granddaddy of seed saving organizations in the US. Their seed swapping catalog has grow to include literally thousands of vegetable and fruit listings. And they have a sister organization, The Flower and Herb Exchange.
- Seed Savers' Network (Australia) Similar to the U.S. based Seed Saver Exchange, above.
- Southern Seed Legacy Project Focused on preserving the biodiversity of the U.S. South. Hosts a large membership seed swap and 'PASS' - Pass Along Southern Seeds - Members adopt a particular seed, grow it out, keep notes on how it does and save more seed to pass along.
If there's a horticultural society, arboretum or public garden you particularly love, be sure to check into how you can get on their seed exchange list.