On seed trading

DSCN7910Part of last year’s squash haul

I guess I AM a bit obsessed:  on top of all the planting, weeding, and harvesting on the garden task list this week, harvesting the biennials’ seeds is also a top priority.  Spinach, beets, and three types of onions are ready to harvest, and then there are all those crazy lettuces that are likewise on the brink.  (And winter squash: I saved a few for seed of the ones that made it through the winter…it’s nearly past time to cut them open and haul out their seeds to dry.)

Seed-saving seems to have taken over as the subject of my blog posts, anyway…

Verily, I admit I save more than I use; it’s one of the reasons I have started seed-trading with local gardeners and even some online gardening friends.  The local angle is pretty great as seeds from the plants grown in this particular patch of earth will more than likely do well in other Michigan gardens.  But somehow the idea of seed-sowing over a wider patch of the world also appeals to me.  In point of fact, I believe I will start a limited seed trade with anyone who’s interested.  So, over the next…well, month or more, I hope to have a bit of a list on the sidebar of this blog for you to peruse.  All seeds will be open-pollinated, organically grown, and under two years old.

If you are interested, simply look at the list and email me and we’ll figure out a suitable arrangement for getting the seeds to you.   I might require some seeds from you in return, or maybe your first-born child.  You know.  Something equitable and fair.

14 responses to “On seed trading

  1. This blog has a great post on saving squash seed:

  2. I am very interested.

    I am saving bean seed (since that is what our main crop is.) We have ALWAYS saved our bean seed and plant ONLY our pinto beans every year. This year I am growing for the Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center http://www.heirlooms.org/ in Kentucky, a variety of greasy beans, of which I will return what we don’t eat—in order to expand the bean seed amount.

    What you need to know, is that WE are not able to be certified organic because of our neighbors and thier farming methods. So knowing that, if you still would like some of our seeds I would like to share with you. If you don’t want to because of most of the farmers growing practices in our area, my feelings won’t be hurt. EVER.



  3. El,
    I guess you didn’t know that I’m your new best friend…don’t know what I could possibly gather this season that you don’t already have but count me in!

  4. Wait, wait I wanted to be your new best friend. My trading options may fall into the impractical category, so I called my first-born and told her to begin packing.
    You’ll like her. The fact that she might help your assistant smuggle dinner out of the henhouse could pose a problem.

  5. I am in NW Ohio – when do you plant your pumpkin seeds? Mine are always ready to harvest WAY TO EARLY for the Fall.

    I LOVE YOUR BLOG… big fan of your seed information so keep on bloggin!

  6. Count me in too! I’m not sure what I’ll be able to give in return, but I can make up a list of what I’ve got. This is the first year I started tomatoes from seed that I received from wintersown.org. The seedlings started off looking pretty pathetic (windowsill not lights), but now they are equal to or exceeding the four “back-up” seedlings I bought from our CSA. We’ll see how they are come harvest, but I’m keen on figuring seed saving out and this sounds like fun!

  7. Why yes, of course. Who wouldn’t want to trade seeds? Now I have to get on the stick and see what’s what.

  8. Oh!!! Hate to comment twice, but that is the EXACT seed envelope method I use. Works a treat.

  9. If you’re willing to trade seeds from a first-time saver and newbie gardener, I’d love to trade!

  10. I look forward to seeing your seed list. As someone who is making every attempt to save a variety of different seeds, I have to agree with your last post in that the amount of room these seed plants take up can be can be somewhat frustrating. I am trying to work out a rotational schedule in order to save as much as possible… but still.

    I’m surprised at how much faster your seeds are maturing, most of my plants are still in or just beginning the flowering stages, and won’t be giving me any seed until various times in August and early September. It must be those darn greenhouses of yours.:)

    I have come to the conclusion that saving seeds is one of the most important duties we have as growers of food. It is nice to see so many others involved in this task. As one who is still a greenhorn when it comes to such things I look forward to all your posts on this subject.

  11. I read that if you plant melons, squashes, etc. of different variety close together that they can cross pollinate and the seed can be impure? I’ve never heard of this, and I do not have room for the recommended spacing to keep this from happening…any thoughts? I’m letting several of my lettuces flower right now…it’ll be my first attempt to save seed, I hope it goes well, it’ll sure save us some $. 🙂

  12. I tagged you yesterday. Hope thats ok. : )

    Found the eldeberry flowers you had showed. I hope they are the same kind. Mrs. think they “stink”… I think they smell aromatic. …like wild Jasmin back home.

    Wish Mr. FastGrow a Happy Father’s day. What did you get him?

  13. Please do keep up with the seed info. Seed saving isn’t as easy as I thought it would be but I’m really dedicated to keeping strains that work well here going in my seed box!

    Love the photo and dream of the day when I can take a picture like that of my very own. 🙂

  14. EJ: Thanks for menitoning Nita’s site. She waxed so poetically on her Sweet Meat squash that she persuaded me to grow some of my own!

    Oh Linda I *am* interested though! Those folks in Kentucky likewise are fascinating to me, though I felt poor this year and didn’t pony up their $7/packet seed price, though of course I believe in their work. And neighbors. Sigh. I feel pretty fortunate that none of my immediate neighbors is interested in farming or else I would have to deal with their methods too.

    Ah Bren that is a great question, when to plant the pumpkins. My experience is that I have never found the perfect time, though I err on the “too late” camp and have green pumpkins when the frost hits them. My problem here is my really wet springs, and those seeds don’t want to germinate in the ground. That leads me to think I need to start them from seed indoors but all cucurbits hate transplanting! SO if they’re ripening too quickly for you, try planting them from seed now.

    Andrea, it’s a real rabbit hole you can fall down, seed saving, so watch out! I started with really tiny baby steps. But I would bet you have stuff I don’t have, so yeah, let’s trade.

    Stef, I am glad to hear the endorsement of the seed envelope; it’s worked fairly well here.

    MC, I will count you in!

    Mike, my secret IS those sneaky greenhouses! But yes I do think it’s enormously important and not just as a point of thrift that we all try to save some of our seed. I also think it’s an outgrowth of becoming more serious about gardening: you really like something, you wanna keep it around. Certainly we’ll be in touch again about the trading though!

    Lindsay, with squashes the key is to grow something of the four families to save each year (there are four distinct, uncrossable lines: a zucchini and a pumpkin will never cross, nor would a Hubbard and a cucumber) so what I do is pick something per family to save, which means that I have to be vigilant in closing up the blossoms with tape, etc., after I hand-pollinate, if I am growing more than one plant within families. If that sounds really elaborate it’s true and I agree with you. Sometimes, though, I just let things happen.

    WF, glad you found some flowers! Tell Mrs WF that I think they stink too. I ended up making a syrup too from the flowers (in a 1:1 sugar/water ratio, lots of lemon and zest and citric acid) to dilute into drinks for the summer. Tom always ends up buying himself something isn’t that unromantic? But you will get what you want that way… Have fun making the champagne!

    Christy, I am doing the same thing: these work well here, well heck let’s keep growing them! But it’s really not too hard once you get the groove going, I promise.

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