UK seed swap/seed library?

I’m not near my seeds right now, but I do have loads of purchased commercial seeds (including some moderately rare ones) that I’m willing to swap with other UK gardeners/growers, and I’m wondering about the best way to organise this.

One option: let me know what you need and as soon as I’m back in London I will have a look and see whether I have it; in return I am most interested in blight-resistant tomatoes, climbing Phaseolus vulgaris and Phaseolus coccineus for drying, and any landrace melon or winter squash seeds. I don’t have landraces of my own to share just yet.

But I am also open to being told I should just start a local seed library! Or maybe some combination, putting some of the seeds into a seed library and keeping some to swap. I don’t have a lot of spare admin time available so I’m not sure if I want to start something too complex.

Thoughts? Advice?

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I’ll be négative on seed libraries. Lots of work, ans you’ll be dealing with starters in London. Hobby gardeners in cities. Yeah well, if you’re well off and have seas of time, love love people and telling thé same thing every time and don’t mind not getting anything back seedwise, just thank you’s and smiles, in that case: go for it.
I’ve visited thé seed library in Montpellier in the big central library. I thought to get a lot of seeds. The employées were clueless were it was. When i found it the lady told me not many people bring seeds. I’ve ended up stocking the cupboard to the rim explaining the lady what was what, looking up Latin names and stuff.
Seed éxchanges are great. Passionate people. Big cities are crowded with plant enthusiasts and more so than ever.
I’m in the country side, my neighbor from Paris has gotten the plant bug, the seed bug even. She gave me a mango tree. Complicated stuff i don’t have time for. But city dwellers have no space, so they can do all sorts of hand crosses and the likes. Seas of time they have and they shower in money and everybody is soooo moody they only have plants to talk to (Paris, i’m speaking of) :wink:

But seriously, i xouldn’t know who to speak to of landraces. I got one client who really gets it. Two farmers i know, but they don’t like the work involved getting seeds, trying things, saving seeds. For them things got to be big and tasty then it’s good to show off to their mates.
Veggie growers same thing. They laugh.’ Yeah, go ahead you doing what you do, i’ll see when things get big and tasty’ kind of attitude.

But seed swaps are amateurs, people with love, hobby, time, and even thème, trying to explain landracing… But, they’re happy to exchange seeds of non grexes or people juste give seeds away not really expecting or needing something back.

We’re going to need everybody.

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Yeah, we’re definitely going to need everybody! There is a lot of overlap between “hobby gardeners” and me, for what it’s worth. And when something is a hobby rather than a livelihood people are in a much better position to take risks and try new methods.

If I were to start a seed library there are three places I can think of to do it.

One is at my church, where I currently grow vegetables in the churchyard to supplement the food for our soup kitchen. If I did this I would do it in association with a local gardening group, which does already have a seed swap, and it would only be open for very reduced hours. But it would be largely me doing the work.

One is at my allotment society. We don’t currently even have a seed swap day, though… I think the committee wouldn’t like this as they get a (small) commission on orders from one of the seed companies. Sigh. Setting this up… I think I might get one other person to help but it’s not going to be an easy thing.

The third would be with my local Transition Towns group. They already have a community garden and a seed swap day, so it would probably fit well with their existing activities, and I might not have to do all the work myself.

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I’m up for being part of a uk seed swap.
I’m into my first year of collecting seed for most of my veg crops, second year for beans (though I only came across the landrace course a couple of months ago, so it was more an accidental seed saving than a proper landrace grex).

I live in the Scottish Borders, and we have just had our first frost (minus 2.9 degrees centigrade) so that’s it for the tender plants.

I have pea seeds (though apparently they don’t really cross, but I have a good selection of different kinds), runner bean seeds, fava bean (field beans and broad bean), some French bean from a plastic greenhouse, but they don’t really grow outside here well at all (I might stop trying as they don’t cross easily either).

I have a lot of squash. I grew all my courgettes to marrows, along with some baby spaghettis. All were grown on a plot right next to a bunch of pumpkin and winter squash plants, so who knows what will emerge next year.

I have a bunch of aliums. Once they stuck their flower spikes up they all looked the same so I have no idea which are leeks, which are onions, and whether they are bunching onions or regular ones.

I have some carrot seed, I think.

And a lot of tomato seed… My tomatoes are from those I liked the taste of last year and they are tasty, but grown inside and probably not very variable in terms of genetics. A work in progress. I would be interested in developing a more hardy, blight resistant tomato.

I have a lot of potato seeds saved from about five different varieties. One was a sarpo, others were those from the Borders Organic Gardener’s potato day and they had loads of bunches of fruits in them, so maybe there were some heritage variety.

I am intending to grow maize next year. I tried this year and managed to get three tiny cobs. Given that it rained for six weeks solid, I think that was an achievement. I have bought a bunch of seeds off Etsy and dried some from the local veggie shop so I have a good jar full of seeds I will try next year.

Next year I’m hoping to try flax, oats and lentils. I buy stuff from Hodmedods, which mainly sells things that are grown in the uk, so I reckon I might get away with it up here.

I’m happy to swap with anyone from the UK, as it looks like swapping with Europe or the rest of the world isn’t straightforward or easy.

I don’t really mind what I grow - I’m aiming to be as self sufficient as possible, so anything that takes me in that direction works for me,

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I’ve bought wheat from Hodmedod’s to grow ourt, which was pretty successful, and am thinking of treating their “all the peas” packet as a soup pea grex.

I’m definitely interested in swapping some potato seeds, at the very least.

I agree with Hugo that if you don’t have a lot of admin time, organizing a yearly seed swap is the way to go. At least here, people think of seed libraries as sources of free seeds that are 95% of the time donated from seed companies. It’s a constant uphill battle to get seeds returned from everything I’m hearing, and also experiencing from a project I started in the spring.

So right now (since a month) Im working with some others on a project that combines workshops with a mobile seed library (seed hub?) When we ask people what they want, it’s usually community. They want to do something regular with other seed people they don’t know yet. And they want to learn about seed saving, but certainly not from an online course or a book.

Theoretically, they say they want emails telling them what to do when in their garden for this climate, but I’m not convinced they would read the emails. But maybe that would work, combined with workshops where they can hang out and have a good time.


Yeah, it does sound like a swap will be less work.

There is a uk swap being organised - a seed train - here: