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Seed Swaps: A General FAQ for How To Get Started

By DogsNDaylilies
August 20, 2016

If you love to grow things from seed and you haven't already checked into the seed swaps here on NGA, you're missing out! Seed swapping is a great way to expand your collection of seeds and try new things, whether your interests are wide or focused. There's a little something for everyone and NOW is the time to get started! Grab your seeds and get ready for a little trading--I'll help you learn how!

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Name: Morgan
IL (Zone 5b)
Winter Sowing Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Aug 20, 2016 10:41 AM CST
I used the new system last year and it was pretty slick, but it's good to read a little refresher with the details covered. It might be useful to some people new to the system or the idea of group swaps in general to add a section covering the most basic aspects of groups swaps and how this system may differ from other group swaps.

Like, covering the benefits of group swaps over single person to person swapping (much more variety to choose from, only having to mail one package, etc.) Many of the other groups swaps I have done were either totally random swaps, wish list swaps, and ones where the host had to sort through seeds and decide who got what. You usually did not know what seeds you would be receiving until you got your package back. That is great for fun surprises, but not so great for knowing what you may want to purchase before you need to start sowing.

Many of those large group swaps are basically one to one seed packet would get back the same or very close to the number of seed packets that you sent in. This swap is very different in that there may be a big disparity between the number you send and receive. You should only offer up the number packets that you are willing to send in, regardless of how many you choose to get back. There will likely be participants who have few packets to offer, but will still get many tickets to spend on seeds for themselves. That is just the way it is set up. I know at the end of the swap I was in I had a ton of unspent tickets leftover. That was totally fine with me because I like to share seeds and usually harvest more than I know what to do with. But, it is something new participants should be aware of so they aren't caught off guard or disappointed.

Don't let the details of the new system scare anyone off either. It sounds more complicated than it is. It is really smartly set up to be quite efficient. It integrates well with the site's plant list feature also. You can add items throughout the year to your plant list that you can collect seed from. I made a category called "seed" for these items in my plant list. Then come swapping time you can quickly view just those plants, add any new ones to your swap list, and they will automatically be linked to the plant database so swap participants can see photos and quickly look up info on that plant. You can retain that main swap list from year to year and add/remove items or adjust quantities before a swap. Adding items directly to a swap list is simple to. I do that for things I don't grow and they were just extras from other swaps. Again, pretty slick! Smiling

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