Seedy Saturday at the TBG

My sister is the seed-starter in our family. She’d tell you all the great reasons to start plants from seed, beginning with the joy of seeing a wee plant unfold from the soil – an everyday miracle I never get tired of.

Cost-effectiveness is another one. Seed-started plants make it all the more affordable to create a scene like the one above, a sea of natives around the Center for Sustainable Landscapes at Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory.

And when you can get those seeds for free! Wow, affordable to the Nth degree. That’s what seed swaps and exchanges are all about, and Seedy Saturday has become a seed-exchanging tradition.

Seedy Saturdays aren’t only on Saturdays (sometimes it’s Sunday) and they aren’t limited to one one day or one location. If you check here, you’ll find 2017 events all over – including this Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Toronto Botanical Garden. From the TBG website:

Bring your open-pollinated (non-hybrid) and heirloom seed to TBG’s second annual Seedy Saturday and go home with a collection of new seed.

Good idea? I’d say so. Check the TBG’s link above for the details.

But even if you miss Seedy Saturday, you’re still in luck. The TBG is one of several participants in the Toronto Seed Library. Any leftover seed after the TBG Seedy Saturday will be kept at the Weston Family Library for you to use – once again, for free!

I asked TBG librarian Mark Stewart how that all works, and here’s what he kindly wrote back:

“On Seedy Saturday we set up seed swap tables. People can bring their seeds and swap them for other seeds (i.e. bring peas and leave with tomatoes).

The Seed Library is a little bit different. When you take seeds from the Seed Library, you write it down on your borrower sheet in the lending binder. The idea is that you then grow the seeds, enjoy the produce/flowers, and then when the plant sets seed, you save some and return them to the library (i.e. borrow peas, return the same variety of peas months later).

Given the multitude of intervening factors that can ‘go wrong’ in the garden, there are no penalties if people are unable to return seeds from those they borrow. There are no ‘lost item’ fees. All we ask is that, when you borrow seeds from the Seed Library, you try your honest best to grow them out and return some.”

That sounds like a pretty fair deal to me.

Happy growing!


    1. I’m not a seedy gal either, Loree, unless it’s the kind of seed you simply sprinkle or poke in place – or allow to self-seed. But I love the principle of Seedy Saturday, and the Seed Library is just brilliant.

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