Seed Exchange FAQ

Many of you have questions about how to get ready for the Washington Gardener Magazine 2012 Seed Exchanges. Here are a few tips to prepare and make the day a success:

~ You can bring unused seeds from purchased packs or seeds you gathered from your own garden. Carefully pack and label your seeds as best you can. The more information you can provide, the better. More details on seed packing and labeling are on the registration form. Did you know you can make your own seed packs? Get great free downloadable templates are here:
Please do NOT bring large quantities of seed in one bag. Our volunteers are over-whelmed at the check-in tables already with sorting seeds into the table categories, please break them up into smaller quantity packs ahead of time or we will not be able to put them out.
(No, you don't have to bring seeds. It is great though if you do bring them.)
(Yes, you can bring bulbs, tubers, corms, etc. to the swap. They should be bagged and labeled just like seeds.)
(Older seeds are fine, if you can test for viability that would be great. The exceptions are lettuce, onions, and impatiens seeds, which should all be less than a year old.)

~ Make a list of your seed “wants.” It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the day and forget the basics that you came for or the rarities that you had been seeking.

~ We recommend eating lunch before coming. We will be serving a healthy, light snack break mid-way through the event -- fruit, granola bars, etc. We have spring water - if you have a travel mug, bottle, or cup with lid you like, please bring that to fill up. We will have some plastic/paper cups on hand, but are trying to keep this event as “green” as possible and cannot allow open containers in the room with the seeds as an accidental spill would be devastating. It will help to label your mug/bottle/cup too, in case it gets misplaced.

~ We will give away a prize for the most creative name tags :-). Please make a name tag or recycle one from another event. If you do not bring one, we will have generic blank name tags on-hand. Again, we are trying to recycle and make this event eco-friendly.

~ When you get your goody bag at check-in, please make sure to label it with your name -- all the bags look alike and can get easily mixed up. Bringing a few sheets of those personalized address labels you get with charity mailings will come in handy for this and for labeling your seed packets, giving out your contact information to fellow gardeners, etc.

~ If you are bringing seed catalogs for our give-away, catalog recycling table, be sure to rip off the address labels and tear out any order insert with your personal information on any seed/garden catalogs you bring in.

~ We screen incoming seeds and do not accept any invasives listed in the "Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas" booklet from the National Park Service. So please check your seeds against the invasive listing at:
~ Bring extra seed envelopes/baggies, in case you want to break up a bigger seed bag/pack or share with another attendee.

~ We have a Show & Tell portion of the schedule and participation is strictly voluntary. We encourage you to introduce yourself, share some fun facts and background on the seeds you bring, or tell us about any local garden projects or garden-related groups which you are involved in. You can also use this time for special requests for any particular seeds you have been seeking. You may want to jot down some speaking points before the event.

~ If you are attending the Maryland location, here is a link to directions to Brookside Gardens and a map:
We will be in the Visitor Center in the Main Auditorium.
There is additional parking down the hill at the Conservatory entrance.

~ If you are attending the Virginia location, here is a link to directions to Green Spring Gardens and a map:
We will be in the Horticulture Center in the Main Auditorium.

~ Here is the updated event schedule*:
12:00-12:30 Registration and seed drop off to WG Staff & Volunteers
12:30-12:35 Introductory remarks and overview
12:35-1:25 Speaker 1
1:30-2:00 Speaker 2
2:00-2:30 Refreshment Break & Seed Swap Preview
2:30-3:00 Seed Show & Tell**
3:00-3:30 Seed Swap!
3:30-3:45 Garden Photo Contest Winners Presentation
3:45-4:00 Final Door Prizes and closing remarks - Kathy Jentz Washington Gardener magazine
*As with all live events, the schedule is subject to last minute change.

Snow Plan
If there is a bit of snow, we'll ignore it and carry on.
If it is a real blizzard and we have to change things, we'll send out an email that morning by 10am to alert folks IF anything changes.
Again, we’ll make the decision by 10am so check your emails after 10am, if there is any question about the weather. No note from us means we are still on as planned.

PS We recommend you register in advance as the event is limited to 100 attendees at each location. To register, see the form here. Print it out and mail it in with your registration payment.


When breaking down larger packs of seeds, how many seeds should be in the small pack we make?
Hi Peacock - 20 small seeds is a good round figure to aim for in breaking up packs. For larger seeds, maybe 5-10 per pack.

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