City Garden: Swap Seeds

Swap seeds

Spring, you guys! It doesn't always (and by that I mean ever) feel like it here yet, but the evenings are brighter, the calendar reads solidly mid-April, and birds sing in the mornings. Warmth is coming, and I'm holding on to that as I shrug on my winter coat each morning.

I've begun to think about what I want to grow on the little back deck of my apartment this summer. Last year I was gone for several weeks of the summer, and so my food growing dreams never turned real. But this summer I'll be home more, and I hope they will.

To avoid the non-recyclable plastic packaging that often holds plant starts, I grow my plants from seed. Seeds can typically be acquired in one of two of ways: in paper packages of tens or hundreds of seeds, or as tens or hundreds of seeds harvested from the plant itself the previous year. Either way, if you're a city dweller like me, that's probably a few too many than your little backyard, porch, or backyard garden can handle.

If you've picked up a few packets of things you'd like to grow this year but lack the room to sow every last seed, you have a few choices. You can save the extras until the following year, but like any perishable, seeds are typically best used within the twelve months that they're purchased or harvested. Or, you can swap the seeds with friends or give them away freely.

I've been making plans to meet up with a few friends to trade seeds. This way, we can all have more variety in our gardens at no cost, and fewer seeds get wasted. I'll swap some chamomile seeds for some kale, pepper seeds for tomatoes, and then I have so many cilantro and dill seeds that I'll try to just give them away to anyone who wants them. If your friends aren't the growing type, there are often free community seed swaps this time of year - an internet search in your city might turn some up!

It's heartening to think that several months from now, summer will be in full swing, and I'll hopefully be gathering a few things each evening from my back porch mini-garden. I can't wait. Do you have any garden space, no matter how small? What are you hoping to grow this year?