Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Seed Swaps

I have so many seeds in my seed stash that there's no way I will ever sow them all. I like to try new varieties each year, so those left from the previous year will probably never get used. Some packets of those that I do choose to grow each year will contain more seeds than I will ever use, especially before the 'sow by' date, some contain literally thousands of seeds. Then there's those seeds which come free as a gift in a magazine. I hate waste, so a great way of passing on these seeds to someone who wants them is through a seed swap. I have taken part in many seed swaps on a forum I belong to, Allotments 4 All, there is a link in my side bar. Some swaps can be between two people who are looking for specific seeds, and some swaps can be amongst a group of people, where a parcel of seeds will be posted to each member of the swap group, they will take out the seeds they require and add some more of their own surplus seeds to the parcel. Seed swaps are great if you are looking for a particular seed and can't find a stockist, or if you only want a few seeds of a particular variety rather than a whole packet. Last year, I swapped something for some Lunaria - Honesty with Georgie from Little London Garden. As you can see, they are now in bloom. I hadn't thought of cutting them for a vase, but stole the idea when I saw Jeanne's lovely display on Tales From A Cottage Garden. I took the photo outside as those taken inside the house didn't show the true colour of the flowers. The seed heads are just starting to form, they are used widely in dried flower displays and I remember my grandma always used to have them in the house.

The bank holiday weekend wasn't such a wash out as we were led to believe it was going to be. Saturday was a lovely day with plenty of sunshine, Sunday was a little windy but still dry, and yesterday was sunny with a few rain showers. I managed to get my first and second early potatoes planted on Saturday as well as my first batch of peas. My maincrop potatoes are still waiting to go in, but hopefully I'll get those in this week. I don't feel quite so behind now that the earlies are in though. I need to sow some more peas now as I plan on sowing them successionally to lengthen the harvest. I planted my onion sets last week which I know is very late, but I should still get a crop from them, I expect they'll just be very small. I noticed on Saturday that there are already some green shoots showing. I haven't got around to planting the shallots, I don't know if it's worth putting them in now or not.


  1. Well done Jo. It was too damn cold here this weekend. We had 2 hard frosts and I'm kicking myself cos my 4 lovely cucumbers grown in the house and potted on I left in the back sun porch and they look decidedly grumpy after 2 very cold nights.
    I will sow some more but feel it's a bit late.
    Your flowers are lovely.
    Claire x

  2. Well done for getting your spuds in. I don't know about you, but I find it quite stressful when I haven't been able to get on with things due to being held up with the weather and suchlike. Now we're in May, hpepfully we can crack on a bit.

  3. They look lovely in the vase, I'll have to remember to pick some of mine (if they ever get big enough to flower!)

  4. AnonymousMay 04, 2010

    Those seed swaps are great thing. I do need to join in. I always save too many seeds... I cant throw them away, but next year I save some more…

    Beautiful flowers!

  5. Seed swaps are such a good idea. I swap with friends and neighbours, but it's nice to know you can do it on the forums as well.

    Well done for getting your spuds and peas in Jo. My garlic and shallot sets are romping away!

    We had a lovely day on Saturday (Eel day!!) but Sunday was very cool and windy and it was freezing when we went to Blickling Hall yesterday!

    Your Lunaria - Honesty looks lovely in the vase- very nice blooms indeed - oh and thank you for linking to me!


  6. What a fab idea to have a seed swap - may have to start doing that I think.

  7. I love Honesty. One of my friends has a white version - must swap some seeds with her!

  8. I should go for planting your shallots...you rally have nothing to lose!!

    I do seeds swaps...and seedling swaps with friends and other plot owners and we also have a new plot dweller this year who doesn't know much about gardening so i have given her some seedlings and seeds...i don't mind giving something for nothing as it all comes round in the end.

    i still more main crop and second early potatoes to get in but I'm not too worried...they will grow and I will just have a longer succession of potatoes.

    i sowed some peas last weekend and will put some more in this weekend so that I too will have a longer harvest.

    Our weekend was very cold and so I was quite lazy about the plot but will hopefully get a little more don tomorrow!!

  9. You got a lot done Jo. We were out Sunday and Monday and away next weekend so I'll get behind again!

  10. AnonymousMay 04, 2010

    If you have the room to plant your shallots its worth a try. Still so much to do but l have my bean poles up and its looking like a proper veg plot again! Weather is horrid. I am really fed up with this wind. My friend in the south of France says they have had snow all day! Please....none of that!

  11. I've been to several plant swaps, but never a seed swap ... what a great idea!

  12. A$A seed swaps are certainly legend, I have gotten some very nice varities from the lovely members of that forum but I haven't been able to visit there much since last year. Time has not allowed me to follow all my computer interest.

    The honest in the vase is beautiful and I must admit I haven't ever thought to put it in a vase, I will do this week as there is some growing to the back of my garden this year.

    The weather over the bank holiday weekend was not very welcoming this end, I 'm glad you got lots done, I spent it on my back really with a yucky cold.

  13. It's still not too late for cucumbers if you do need to resow, Claire. They might just pick up again though.

    I was starting to feel a bit panicky, Mark N. It isn't good when you're behind with things, but you can usually catch up.

    I'm really pleased with them in the vase, Su Harris. These were sown last year, Honesty are biennials.

    Seed swaps are great, Vrtlarica. Surplus seeds can be passed on, and there's always usually something you're pleased to receive.

    Thank you for the idea of cutting Honesty for a vase, Jeanne, I think it looks lovely. I don't have any friends who are in to gardening, so I'm unable to swap any seeds that way, but I do pass on my surplus seedlings to my dad for his garden, or my hubby's uncle for his allotment. There's also a lady at my hubby's work who appreciates anything I send for her.

    Seed Swaps are great, Scented Sweetpeas, particularly the seed swap parcels, which contain many seeds. You can usually find lots of things in those which take your fancy.

    I was hoping that I might get some white ones, Vegetable Heaven. All my plants are purple though.

    I think I will have a go at planting my shallots, Tanya, as you say, I've got nothing to lose. It's nice to be able to pass on seeds and seedlings to new plot holders. I remember I was offered lots of things when I took on my allotment, and I was really grateful.

    I'm sure you'll soon catch up again, Damo. That's the problem at this time of year, it's so busy that if you miss a weekend's gardening, then you end up falling behind.

    I will put my shallots in, Wartimegardening, it can't hurt. It does start to look like a veg plot again when the structures like bean poles or brassica cages are up. I hope you don't get the snow.

    The seed swaps I take part in are online, Pamela, but I have heard of them being organised around the country, none near me though.

    I find that the members of A4A are extremely generous, Kella. A couple of the tomatoes I'm growing this year are from there. I'd never thought of cutting Honesty for a vase until I saw it on Jeanne's blog, and it looked so pretty. Sorry to hear that you've been ill, but hope you're well on the road to recovery.

  14. AnonymousMay 05, 2010

    I've done seed swops, and just gives or takes, on A4A. As you say it's such a good idea and people like Georgie are so very generous.
    Good to see that you managed to get so much done on your plot over the weekend. I agree about planting the shallots, although it's late for them they may still be okay.
    Happy gardening, Flighty! xx

  15. Seed swaps are a great idea. I usually get carried and buy far more than I need and quite a few will go to waste. I have been really restrained this year and used some of last year's.

    Sounds like you did well this bank holiday - better than me anyway!

  16. thanks for the seed swap links. the honesty looks beautiful in the vase. very much the country cottage look :) i am still waiting to put my spuds in. i know it won't take me that long but it is one of many jobs to do!

  17. Lots of my veg seeds for this year are from forum swaps. It's a great idea to try something new and certainly helps with the seed tin clear out!

  18. I could not see the attraction of seeds until i experienced the rush of seeing my first seedling this morning

  19. It was a bit of a relief to get my potatoes in at last, Flighty. I'm hoping to get more done this weekend, including planting the shallots.

    I usually go to Wyevale's at the end of the season, Mark. They sell off their seeds at 50p per packet, and I end up buying loads more than I need. I'm going to make a list this year so that I don't buy anything I've already got.

    I'm really pleased with the Honesty, Steph. I like having flowers in the house, but don't usually cut any in the garden. This year I'm having a cut flower patch at the allotment.

    I think seed swaps are a great idea, Jules. I've passed on many seeds which I no longer need, and in return have received lots of new things to try. It keeps costs down too.

    Thank you for visiting, Tanya. Now that you've got seeds germinating you'll be hooked. I still get that rush every time I see a seedling poking through the soil.

  20. Thanks for the links for the seed swaps, I don't have any friends close by that are interested in gardening so this will be useful. Well done for getting your potatoes in...I still need to get my maincrop in too but finding the time and dodging the weather is slowing me down! The honesty looks beautiful, I look forward to reading more about your cutting patch, it's something I'd quite like to do so I hope you do some posts on this, I'd love to see it and hear how you get on :-)

  21. Hi Jo, Gosh your flowers are lovely! Will you collect the seeds later and swop them? We had a wash out bank holiday weekend - a mixed blessing as I was grateful for the watering it gave the seedlings but, like Mark N, sense of frustration setting in as still lots to be done!

  22. AnonymousMay 09, 2010

    Hi Jo, The seed swop idea is great. I'm all for cutting out unnecessary waste. Like you, l always buy too many seeds, then have too many plants and then lack of space to plant them. Why do we do it? Chilly here again with an easterly wind. I do hope summer hurries along soon.

  23. I had every intention of starting a cutting patch last year, Ninasgardening notebook, but it never really took off. I'm hoping to do better this year and have already started off some cosmos, dahlias and zinnia amongst others. I would love to be able to grow flowers for the house at the allotment as I don't like to cut them from the garden.

    I'm hoping to do quite a bit of seed saving this year, Caro. It's something I haven't done before though so what results I'll have remains to be seen.

    I just can't stop myself from buying seeds, Wartimegardening. Still, I suppose it gives me something to swap. It's been cold here over the last few days, but it's brightened up today. I too wish the warmer weather would stay around.


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