WASHINGTON — Home gardeners rejoice! Held on the last Saturday in January, National Seed Swap Day is on Jan. 30 this year. With spring drawing ever nearer, even if it doesn’t feel like it on some of the colder days, National Seed Swap Day is a refreshing reminder that the growing season is on its way.
Humans have been swapping seeds for thousands of years. They are thought to be some of the earliest commodities for trade. Today, home gardeners are trading seeds to increase their home garden’s biodiversity, out of interest to explore new plants, or just plain old thriftiness. A seed swap can be an excellent way to share a favourite heirloom variety of vegetables or flowers. Perhaps you have a rare cultivar that you would like to share with others in your community?
National Seed Swap Day originated from a seed exchange organized by Kathy Jentz of Washington Gardener Magazine and held on Jan. 26, 2006, in Washington DC. It was so successful that it continued to be held as an annual event and spread in popularity, becoming National Seed Swap Day.
There are many ways to observe this day:
- Exchange seeds with your friends, whether for unusual or rare varieties or just to share excess seeds around the group.
- Check out a local seed swap event or organize your own.
- Use social media or seed swap websites to arrange a seed exchange through the mail.
- Talk to other gardeners and share your favourite tips and tricks, or what you may have learned about which plants grow best in your area.
- Include the kids. Many children find the hands-on activity of gardening to be fun and exciting.
Because National Seed Swap Day occurs so early in the year, it leaves plenty of time to start your plants indoors so that they are ready in time to be planted in the spring.
–Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
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