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SeedSwap

A group of keen local gardeners are planning a seed swap event in the village hall on Saturday 13th February 2021. The event will include not just seeds but all kinds of plants - seedlings, bulbs, tubers, flowers, herbs, potatoes etc. The idea is for interested people to save seeds and pot up spare plants and seedlings over the next few months.  You can also donate any unused or partially used seed packets that you no longer need.

As well as common plant varieties we are hoping that people can offer unusual or heritage varieties that are not easily available from the main seed companies. The event will be free and open to everyone even if you have no items to swap. We will provide some envelopes to store the seeds in the church porch, please help yourselves.

Seeds should be thoroughly dried, labelled with the variety name and date collected and then stored in a cool dark place or in the fridge. Please be aware that some plants such as foxgloves, hemlock and monkshood are poisonous so take appropriate care.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • The easiest vegetable seeds to save are beans, peas, tomatoes, peppers and cauliflower because they are self-pollinators which means they do not easily cross pollinate with other varieties.
  • Don’t Bother Saving Seeds of Hybrid Varieties. Seeds denoted on the package as “F1” are hybrids, meaning two varieties have been bred with one another (cross-pollinated, that is) to produce a third variety with a combination of traits from each “parent.” If you were to save seed from this hybrid offspring and plant it, each seed would grow into a plant with a random combination of the traits found in the gene pool of the original parents, which rarely produces something you’d want to eat.
  • Save Seeds from the Best Plants. To save seed is to participate in the process of natural selection. If you save seed only from the biggest tomato of the bunch and replant them year after year, you’ll eventually end up with seeds that produce plants on which all the tomatoes are bigger. The same holds true for almost any other trait.
  • Seeds Aren’t Viable Until Fully Ripe. Just like picking the perfect tomato, you have to wait until seed is fully ripe before you harvest it – if picked from the plant too soon, the seed will not germinate.  Optimal seed maturity is usually later than optimal crop maturity. Bean and pea seeds are not ready until the pod is brown, dry, and beginning to split open. This is true of any seed that grows in a pod. Corn seed should be allowed to dry on the cob in the garden. Some vegetables, including cucumbers and eggplant, should not be picked for seed until they are overripe and beginning to shrivel up and rot.
  • Well-Dried Seed Is Viable Seed. In order to preserve seed for future plantings, it must be thoroughly dry. Drying out is essentially the final stage of ripening, and ensures that the seed does not become moldy while you’re waiting to plant it next year.  To determine if seed is sufficiently dry, push a fingernail into it – if it gives, it’s not yet ready.
  • Proper Storage Is Important. Dried seed should be placed in paper envelopes or seed packets labeled with the name of the variety and the date it was harvested. To ensure longevity, keep the seed packets in jars in a cool dark place or in the fridge. Any seed stored this way should remain viable for at least a few years, though some crops may keep for a decade or more.



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