Seed swap helps gardeners scratch their itch

Can spring be far behind?

“This time of year, I'm just itching to do some gardening, which, in February in Michigan, pretty much means starting seeds,” according to Monica Milla in an article she wrote for AnnArbor.com. “I have a lot of seeds I've collected from my garden, plus extra seeds left over from seed packets, and yet I still want to try new-to-me varieties.”

Milla, who writes under the name “The Garden Faerie,” was one of several dozen gardeners who scratched their gardening itch at a seed swap at Ann Arbor’s Downtown Home & Garden on Feb. 18 organized by Project Grow and Ann Arbor 350, a program of the Ecology Center.

“A seed swap is a great way to get rid of some of your extra seeds and get something new to grow — all for free,” Milla said.  “It's also fun to chat with other gardeners and get some growing tips.” Milla is a master gardener volunteer, instructor, speaker, garden coach and author.

The way it works? People bring their surplus seeds, and work out swaps with other gardeners for seeds for plants they would like to grow.

“If someone has rare or expensive seeds, they may be more specific in what they will accept in trades, but by and large, people just want to get rid of their extra seeds, and they let you take some even if they don't happen to need anything you brought,” Milla said.

Monica Patel, policy analyst at the Ecology Center and coordinator of Ann Arbor 350, said that the seed swap is a great way for gardeners to grow a wider variety of plants in smaller urban and suburban gardens. “It also gives us a chance to connect with other folks who are working on the same issues we are, creating broader awareness of the common-sense changes we can make at the household level to address climate change.”

The seed-swap organizers are planning a second seed-swap this spring, sometime in March, to accommodate gardeners unable to make it to the first one. For details, stay tuned to Ann Arbor 350.org.

EcoLink — February 2012 Ecolink
An online publication of the Ecology Center

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