Site Talk forum: ATP Annual Seed and Plant Exchange Idea

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Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DogsNDaylilies
Oct 4, 2015 10:40 AM CST
(This was written to be an Ideas article, but was recommended for this forum, instead. I've made a few edits since the article submission, but here it is!:)

With all of the members here on ATP, there are so many opportunities to exchange ideas, opinions...and seeds! Wouldn't it be great if there was an easier (and less expensive) way to get all of the seeds and plants from all of the different people that you want? Maybe we can!

Chances are, you've heard of plant exchanges. Maybe you've even been to one. Maybe fifteen people showed up or, if you're in an area with a lot of gardeners, maybe fifty. Wouldn't it be great if a hundred people or more showed up? Or a thousand?

Here on ATP, we have many members, from veggie gardeners to iris enthusiasts to orchard owners. Some of us have tapped into the potential to obtain new and unique plants by trading with others here on the ATP site, organizing our trades via TreeMail or through the forums, but it is usually one person trading several items with one other person. What if we could, one time a year, streamline it into a massive seed and plant exchange? I think it's possible.

Thumb of 2015-10-01/DogsNDaylilies/439d06

Imagine this: at the designated time each year, everyone submits their list of available seeds to one, central location. It could be a forum, but I wonder if @Dave could even set up a more user-friendly mini-database or other means of viewing the various lists. People would communicate with each other which items they want off of other peoples' lists and what they are willing to trade for those items and all requests would be made made within the designated time period; say, two weeks.

After that time, everyone who found traders for their item submits their items, labelled appropriately, to a single, central source (a person) who has been designated beforehand. This person would be responsible for receiving and re-packaging all of the trade items into single boxes going out to everyone. If you don't follow, no worries, here is a simplified example involving 3 people:
Person 1: Wants seeds L and M from Person 2 and wants seeds Q and S from Person 3.
Person 2: Wants seeds seeds A and D from Person 1 and wants seeds R and T from Person 3.
Person 3: Wants seeds A and C from Person 1 and wants seeds J and N from Person 2.

Once everyone has agreed to the trade, everyone involved in the trades (lets call them "vendors") send the seeds from their stock, that were requested to the central person who acts sort of like a warehouse. In this example, Person 1 would send in seeds A (x's 2), C, and D. Person 2 would send in seeds J, L, M, and N. Person 3 would send in seeds Q, R, S, and T. The central person would organize them into the boxes where they are supposed to go according to the lists they receive from the 'vendors'. The 'vendors' would also send along a tip of some sort (to be agreed upon as a group?) as gratitude to the person who is giving their time to fill all of the orders in order that we may all save a great deal of money on shipping costs overall.

Thumb of 2015-10-01/DogsNDaylilies/6ba379

When you think about it, you may realize that you would like seeds, plants, and other items from ten or twelve different people and that this could save you anywhere from $30-$100 on shipping those items individually because the items would be packaged together and mailed to you all at once.

If most people are interested in seeds, the best time of year will probably be before Southern gardening season begins in March. If we're looking at exchanging plants, we may wish to consider something that allows for plant ship dates in late April or early May.

Let's get a conversation started below and discuss your ideas. If you have questions or concerns, state them below and maybe we can, as a community, come up with a solution. Most importantly, it would be great to get a 'show of hands' of who might be interested in participating in such an event.

Name: Dee Moore
Arroyo Grande, CA (Zone 9a)
Seed Starter Winter Sowing Garden Photography Greenhouse Container Gardener Region: California
Cactus and Succulents Annuals Garden Art Butterflies Seller of Garden Stuff I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DomehomeDee
Oct 4, 2015 12:24 PM CST
I would be interested in the seed exchange. I always have lots of extras and I participate in other seed trade groups.
The logistics of your plan is a bit to grasp, but maybe with an effective accounting system it might not be too hard to keep track.
I don't think you could effectively mail plants this way, there would be too much lag time trying to get everything together and packaged to mail out.
I'm for giving it a try and seeing if it's do-able.
Dee
Name: Duane
Gresham OR (Zone 8a)
Life began in a garden.
I helped beta test the first seed swap Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Salvias Hummingbirder
Hostas Cottage Gardener Annuals Echinacea Container Gardener Dahlias
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duane456
Oct 4, 2015 1:08 PM CST
I also would be interested in a seed exchange. Thumbs up
Name: kitty T
columbia sc (Zone 7a)
Dog Lover
goodgirl61
Oct 4, 2015 3:09 PM CST
oh I would be interested in this too thanks
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Oct 4, 2015 4:59 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

(The Site Talk forum is a good place for this discussion. Thumbs up )

This is a unique idea, and I like it. I'm not sure I have enough seeds to participate personally, but I think if we gave some thought to the technical side of things, I could make a nice system here at ATP to facilitate what you're describing.
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Oct 4, 2015 5:20 PM CST
I agree that a plant exchange might be problematic, but seeds sounds good!
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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Sharon
Oct 4, 2015 5:26 PM CST
We've talked a little about this some time ago and maybe it was in relation to the gift of seeds for new members or a seed bank, something. I believe @Woofie and @RickCorey had some good ideas, too. I might be wrong about that but seems so. We didn't get very far with the discussion but it's on a thread around here somewhere, I think.
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Name: Alana H
(Zone 7a)
Frogs and Toads Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter I helped beta test the first seed swap Keeper of Poultry Garden Ideas: Level 1
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poisondartfrog
Oct 4, 2015 5:37 PM CST
I would be interested in a seed exchange. I participate in several, mostly variations on the same concept. It is not as complicated as it sounds.
Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DogsNDaylilies
Oct 4, 2015 5:46 PM CST
Sharon, if you find it, please let me know.

I agree that it might be better to focus on seeds...at least at first. Once we get a rhythm going to it (assuming we do) and we get the hang of the seed trade, then maybe we can introduce plants in at a later time, possibly as a separate exchange.

If it's JUST seeds, I might be able to volunteer to be the organizer, but I'm open to other volunteers putting their hat in the ring once we figure out the logistics.

People have been pretty good at establishing who gets what in threads where a single person is offering items up. The trick is combining multiple lists of things and getting a fair trade going between many people. I'm going to work on a form or coming up with some sort of logistical way of handling this. I will also try to create forms for other, foreseeable needs, such as forms/notices to people who forgot to mail something in, etc.

One idea I'm currently thinking of is that we have a 'database' (for lack of a better description at the moment) of all of the different available seeds by different people. Someone could go there, view a list, find the items they want (maybe by checking checkboxes?), suggest a trade (memories of Monopoly game trades are coming to mind to me right now Hilarious! ), and if there is an agreement, a brief 'trade form' could be filled out, 'signed' by each person, and then submitted to the database which would then mark those items as spoken for off of the respective lists. ( @dave is either cringing or chomping at the bit now as he reads this and realizes there is probably going to be another programming challenge involved here Whistling ).

Thoughts?
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Oct 4, 2015 7:11 PM CST
People outside of USA could not participate unless someone took reponsibility for phytosanitary certificates. The above would mean alot of work for the central person.
When NARGS holds the Seed Exchange, it makes use of groups of people in that Chapters take on the onerous task of collating and packaging the donations out to members.
It might be too big a job for one central person.
Name: Duane
Gresham OR (Zone 8a)
Life began in a garden.
I helped beta test the first seed swap Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Salvias Hummingbirder
Hostas Cottage Gardener Annuals Echinacea Container Gardener Dahlias
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duane456
Oct 4, 2015 7:25 PM CST
Alana, I think you and I should join seed-a-holics anonymous. I think we have a problem. Hilarious! By the way--your agastache arizona sun seeds did very well this year for me. Thank You!
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Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DogsNDaylilies
Oct 4, 2015 8:03 PM CST
dave said:(The Site Talk forum is a good place for this discussion. Thumbs up )

This is a unique idea, and I like it. I'm not sure I have enough seeds to participate personally, but I think if we gave some thought to the technical side of things, I could make a nice system here at ATP to facilitate what you're describing.


I'll bet you have more to contribute than you realize. After the recent podcast about seed harvesting and storing (and Trish ribbing you a little for your method), I know you have to have some stuff to contribute. Big Grin

Personally, I have single packs of dozens of different seed types that I have purchased, so I plan to divvy them up into little baggies of smaller quantities of seeds so that more people can try them, too. I'm looking forward to increasing the variety of seeds I have even more and passing along my extras so that some other people can use them.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Oct 4, 2015 9:05 PM CST
I did a seed exchange many years ago with a group of 20 people. Everyone listed what seeds they had to share and how many seed packets. People would respond to what they wanted and what they had to share. Each person was responsible for editing their post to add the names of people who wanted their seeds. Example of seed packet distribution:

Pat has 4 packets of Bush Bean seeds and 5 packets of corn, so her post would look like this. She would do a different post for those seeds she wanted:

4 Bush Bean seed packets
1) TJ
2) Pam
3) Sue
4) Rachel

5 Corn seed packets:
1) Pam
2) Marty
3) Rachel
4) Ryan
5) Donna

Pat wants the following seeds:

1) Mixed flower seed packet from Kimberly
2) Cucumber seed packet from Ginny
3) Zinnia seed packet from Carol
4) Watermelon seed packet from Mike

and so on ....

I copied and pasted the list from each post to a master list. The seeds were all mailed to me including a bubble envie inside with their address already written on the front. I dumped all the seeds in a pile then made individual place cards for each person participating. I then sorted the seeds out via each person's request from the master list.

I then packed each person's bubble envelope with the seeds they requested and mailed them out. Everyone had sent a few dollars for postage of their envie.

Everyone was shocked at all the seeds they got from this seed swap. Just about everyone received a envie full of seed packets.

I think I did it 2 years in a row and it was a big hit! I will say though that it is more time-consuming than you can imagine to sort all the seeds out. I am sure there were several hundred seed packets in the pile before being sorted to each person.

It is a great way to get lots of seeds for postage. Thumbs up
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[Last edited by beckygardener - Oct 5, 2015 5:22 AM (+)]
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Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Hybridizer Peonies Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Organic Gardener
Composter Container Gardener Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I helped beta test the first seed swap
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bxncbx
Oct 4, 2015 9:26 PM CST
I'd love to participate! I already have a ton of lavender moonvine seeds (who knew there were so many nocturnal pollinators in NYC) and soon I'll be harvesting moonvine seeds too. Earlier in the summer I harvested poppy, crocosmia, phlox and some other seeds. That's not counting the commercial seed I have in my crisper. Yes, I'm a seed-a-holic too! Smiling

I'd be happy to give seed to people even if they didn't have anything I wanted. I need to make room for the new seed introductions coming in 2016! Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Oct 4, 2015 9:33 PM CST
To 'work around' the international issue, perhaps if there is enough interest it could be divied up into US, Canada, Europe, etc. with a facilitator for each region.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Judy
Simpsonville SC (Zone 7b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Peonies Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I helped beta test the first seed swap
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SCButtercup
Oct 4, 2015 9:39 PM CST
This is not so unusual its exactly how the piggy swap worked on cubits. We all had databases on cubist and posted seeds, then looked on each others databases and asked for what we wanted on a central thread. What dave is proposing would be individual treemails to each other. It saves tons on postage. But is hard on the central seed person. Maybe Dave could delegate some of the work.
Seeds only is what I'm thinking, impossible to have plants in winter.
Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DogsNDaylilies
Oct 5, 2015 3:55 AM CST
Bonehead said:To 'work around' the international issue, perhaps if there is enough interest it could be divied up into US, Canada, Europe, etc. with a facilitator for each region.


I like this idea!
Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DogsNDaylilies
Oct 5, 2015 3:59 AM CST
I think this will be a lot easier going forward if there are forms similar to what I described above. If people communicate via TreeMail, it will be hard for the organizer to confirm that all parties agreed on so-and-so for the trade. If people did it all in the forum, it would take the central person forever to dissect it all. To simplify it for the organizer, I think having forms similar to what I described above will cut down on the time it takes to fill orders and increase accuracy.
[Last edited by DogsNDaylilies - Oct 5, 2015 4:02 AM (+)]
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Name: Toni Melvin
Sherwood Oregon (Zone 8a)
Region: Oregon Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs Beekeeper
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Toni
Oct 5, 2015 9:45 AM CST
WONDERFUL idea Hurray! I am a little fuzzy on how it will actually work. I am hoping when it gets closer to happening I will catch on *Blush*
I have so many seeds they are completely taking over my laundry room. I would love to get involved in a seed exchange.
Toni
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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Oct 5, 2015 10:16 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

There would definitely need to be a restriction on locations for a swap like this. It would need to be limited to the country or region that the host is residing in. So there could be a Canada-only swap, a Europe-only swap, US-only swap, etc.

And yes, I'm thinking forms rather than treemails. The latter would get unwieldy pretty much right away.

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