Sunday, February 23, 2014

S.S.S...... Seed Saving Swap!

A day off!  After days and nights in the studio I took myself on a much needed field trip.  I had stayed up all night loading and firing a kiln so I could be out the door by 9:00 am Sat. morning.  I sort of made it, 9:30 am..... well I did get out the door at 9:00 am but forgot my potluck dish on the porch!  Like my Mom said:  What don't you don't have in your head, you will have in your feet!  Heard ya Mom! 

I belong to a group on the dreaded social media, Facebook called;  Food Not Lawns
As my yard has morphed into an edible landscape over the years I was pretty excited to find a group like this in my backyard.  They are group of like minded people, a tribe of seed gathers!  I attended a canning and "how to" save seeds last fall.  I'm not much of joiner but lurked along on FB.  Went to another lecture on world communities and really liked what I heard.  At each program I would hear;  "Oh this is pretty good but you have to come to the seed swap!"  I waited for the much anticipated seed swap in February only to be blasted by one of the winter vortexes.  The swap was cancelled and rescheduled.  I am crazy busy at the moment and normally would have not walked away from the studio for an entire day but I made myself go!  After all, I was a seed swap virgin...... 

Arriving half hour late but still a half hour earlier than the opening, the church gathering room was just waking up.  Gentle activity...... not chaos, we love that.  Coffee was perking, two women buzzing around the kitchen, stove preheating.  Another gal was setting up a free cycle table.  Charles was setting up the intro table and greeting gardeners.  


Mari, superb ring leader of this subversive group was laying out seeds by the billions.  I love this woman, she is a do-er, fellow schlepper, community leader, and above all, gardener who will stick anything in the ground.  Seriously, who plants lambs quarters? 
 She had loaded up her little Subaru and schlepped billions of seeds and "stuff" to exchange. 
I am now re-thinking the schlepping of heavy pottery.  She had kingdoms in that Subaru!

I set my potluck dish down and started looking around.  I don't see this many seeds at the garden center!  Tables were set up with fact sheets, shoe boxes of seeds and extra envelopes for labeling.  If a packet or grower had more seeds than you could use you could just take a couple.  Like red okra!  I really don't need 100 okra seeds, I took three, three seeds.  I am not a fan of okra but after a fun discussion on facebook I thought I would give it a try.  It will be tucked away in the sunny perennial beds.  

There were hybrid seeds, clearly labeled that had been donated by various companies.  Noses were not turned up but clearly labeled and offered up.  There is no whining in the garden so if you are a tried and true heirloom gardener.... move along, nothing to see on the hybrid table.  Me?  I'm still using a few hybrids sprinkled in the garden.  Each year, more and more heirlooms creep in but there are still a few hybrid tomatoes I love....... 

Why bother?  This is why! 

Gardeners drifted in on a rare warm sunny morning in Ohio. 
I watched them coming through the door with brief cases, suitcases, grocery bags, boxes, shoeboxes and glass jars filled with seeds.  There were tables filled with little plastic baggies of seeds..... our drug of choice.   Charles was hunting down an elusive collard green, I was hunting for scarlet runner beans and sheep nose peppers.  This was the best Trick or Treat, EVER! 
I asked about Russian Persimmon Tomatoes and heard from Judi Strauss, they were fantastic and worth planting.  But can I can them...... she retorted, rolling her eyes; You can can any tomato!  True enough! 
Everybody was talking seeds, sharing information and excited about what they were doing.
I stopped by and talked to Ellie from City Rising Farms
  I was so happy to hear she is talking with a Presbyterian church in Painesville to start a community garden.  It still won't get me to a church but glad to know somebody out here is thinking about community gardening. 

We heard from the librarian at Coventry Library who is organizing a borrowing seed catalog.  They are also offering a variety of growing workshops in March.  I love the idea of a seed borrowing library.  You "borrow" seeds in the Spring and hopefully replace them in the Fall, baring floods, locust invasion and a lunar eclipse.  The seed library will continue to grow as the local community supports it and expands.  Here is their link:  Coventry library gardening programs

At Susan Miller's table I learned to make seed pots out of old newspaper! 

Here is link to a youtube post if you would like to try a few:

I met the Snarky Gardener, who runs the Kent, Food Not Lawns group and pretty informative blog for those living in north east Ohio.  Check out Don's blog:

Arrived home, dumped my seeds on the floor, just like Halloween, made lists, got the garden blue print out and then had to go to the studio.  Unloaded a kiln, reloaded and rolled to bed around 2 a.m....... what day.  Thank you Mari, it blew my mind..... so much information!   

Now back to reading Oil and Honey......


  1. Oh how wonderful! I wish I knew about this as I am involved w/a few community gardens here in town, as well as other food justice activities.

    Glad you had a wonderful day!

  2. Garden e&r's unite! In our little west coast town, we have an annual 'Seedy Saturday' as well. Given our reliance on ferries to connect us with the big world, our community is big on sustainability and growing locally. Hubby is the gardener on our household. He is collecting toilet paper and paper towel rolls for his seedlings this year. I'll let you know how that works out.

  3. What a great day. I have become a lover of okra since moving south. Love it in tomatoey soups and stews and of course my favorite is the least healthy... fried!
    Can't wait until we have room for a larger garden.

  4. Welcome Carol :)

    There is great site I follow to find out about the garden scene in Cleveland

    Here is the link to the facebook food not lawns

    gardening is sure getting off to a slow start here in NE Ohio..... :)

  5. I love the toilet paper cardboard rolls! In the past I have wrapped them in foil to keep cutworms at bay.

    You are potting on an island?! Why did I just figure that out :)

    The less money spent online or at the big box nursery the better! Still supporting my little guy greenhouse around the corner. I am pretty excited to raise crops from our area and meet up to hear about the seeds I will growing this year. I'm a convert!
    Ooooo Brenda, hope you post pictures of your garden! Hubby works in it but hey it's still part of the pottery's grand scheme :)

  6. Oh Miche'le I might be sending you okra! I am so on the fence but after I saw how beautiful crimson okra plants were I decided to try it. After 3 years in Louisiana I just never cozied up to okra. Honestly, it's the first veggie I have ever wrinkled my nose up at. Hoping to give a try though! But then I think I can pickle anything :)

  7. Thanks Sandy! I am not on FB much and forget how informative that place can be.

    Yes, this has been a long winter!

  8. Oh how wonderful to have a seed swap! I love going to the monthly swaps for other things, and people do bring plants and seeds as well, but to have a full blown seed swap sounds wonderful. A friend took me to a local plant swap and those are a lot of fun. One of the gals brings the seed stash to each swap, they are free (and abundant) and we can add to it, or just take from it. It is fun to try new things. Thanks for sharing about your experience. What a fun day!