Seed swapping is a great way to pool your saved seeds with friends and divide up the loot. My sister came over this weekend and we spread out in the kitchen with our bounty from this past season. There was cheese. There was chocolate. There were good times to be had.

It is such a relief to get some of those seeds off my hands. No offense to nasturtiums, but I absolutely do not need 1000 seeds to plant again this year. If you plant one, you will have nasturtiums for life. Once the flower dies, the seeds are just sitting there ripe for the picking. And since I have a hard time throwing anything away, I certainly had to save every little seed I could find this past Fall. Some seed packets were only half used from last year, so it’s also a good way to ensure they get used this season before they go bad.

All in all, I shared misc gourds, scarlet runner beans, acorn squash, catnip, swiss chard, spinach, kale, parsnip, beets, broccoli, and radish. In return, I received cilantro, yellow pepper, arugula, calendula, two kinds of lettuce (now I have three varieties!), collards, watermelon, sweet peppers, and italian parsley. Quite a haul!

This year I am changing my planting strategy a little, since I have so many more varieties this time around from the seed swap. For example, last year I planted three rows of red leaf lettuce. Not terribly exciting. But this year I can plant one row of red leaf, one of buttercrunch, and one green leaf variety. Instead of eight rows of swiss chard, I will plant maybe three, then a couple for collards and a couple for something else.

Last year I ordered my seeds from Bountiful Gardens and for the most part they were great. The melons, corn, and cucumbers I planted never really came up, but I think that was more likely due to the chickens scratching up the seeds than the seeds being bad. I had a good experience with them overall and would order from them again.

This year though, since I am emphasizing ugly heirlooms, I am trying a new place. It’s called Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Here is their little snipet about their seeds

“All our seed is non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated
and non-patented. We do not not buy seed from
Monsanto-owned Seminis. We boycot all gene-altering
companies. We work with a network of about 50
small farmers, gardeners & seed collectors to bring
you the best selection of seeds available!”

Again, I’ve never ordered from them before, but they have some really awesome looking veggies. Here are some of the standouts from my current wish list (shown in picture in order from left to right):

I am also throwing in tons of herb seeds, eggplant, peppers, more tomatoes (black cherry, yellow pear, Jersey Giant), soy beans, and more gourds. Of course more gourds. I only have about six varieties already, so yes – I need more.

If you have any experience with these guys, I would love to hear your feedback. Exciting stuff to get the seed orders together!!

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Written by Renee Wilkinson