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Rob's seeds for trade/sale

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Job's tears seeds for sale

Where do they come from?

Seeds on my trade list come from a good many sources.

  • I collected the majority of varieties from our own garden. Many of them in the most recent season, but some of them may be a year or two old.
  • Commercial sources - even with all the seed trading I do, every year I still place an order or two from a few favorite seed companies. Since I only start a few plants of each variety, I always have seed left over, and often put it on my trade list.
  • Gardening association seed exchanges - I participate in the seed distributions of the American Horticultural Society and Hardy Plant Society/Mid-atlantic Group most years. While the distribution for some varieties is limited to just a few seeds, others are more generous, and result in leftovers.
  • Seed trades with other gardeners - Through the years, I've traded with gardeners in many countries on several continents, mostly through Gardenweb. The online gardeners' community is vibrant and full of generous and kind folks. Again, some trades are small, others contain more seed than I could ever start myself.

My trade list doesn't specify the origin of each seed variety, but I maintain accurate records; feel free to ask.

Will they grow?

I make an effort to personally try to germinate every variety of seed I collect in my garden - even if it is a plant that I don't need to propagate (because it self-seeds, or spreads vegetatively). That way I can be sure to send viable seed, and can offer personalized germination information. Some varieties I collected this year for the first time, and haven't tried yet. I offer these for trade if I have clearly succeeded in collecting seed (not chaff or duds) - otherwise I hold off until I've tested it myself.

Likewise, I usually have experience with seed from other traders, and try to relate the experience in these pages. Occasionally, I receive seed that resists my efforts to germinate it. If it is a particularly desirable variety, I may list it on my trade list, but will always warn prospective traders of this circumstance.

Some traders insist on "fresh seed". I only expect "viable seed" (and am always willing to take a gamble). Most seeds remain viable for many years. While I try to collect fresh seed of most species every year, I don't get around to every single one every year, and will continue to offer seed that's a little older if I believe it remains viable. My seed germination details often provide a clue as to long-term seed viability of individual species.

What's in a trade?

My trades will have at least 20 seeds, unless I have a very small supply, in which case I will inform you of the number I have before finalizing the trade. Usually, the trades will contain many more seeds - it depends on how many I have on hand.

For the most part, I clean my seed pretty well. With a few varieties, separating seed from chaff by hand is nearly impossible, or incredibly time-consuming. In this case, it's easier to just plant chaff and all, and I send seed uncleaned. This applies to well under 5% of the varieties on my list.

What would I like in return?

I maintain my list of seed wants on my PlantLinks trading profile. This is just a collection of plants that have struck my fancy, often because of online discussion forums or magazine articles; some may not be easily grown, or come true, from seed. If you maintain an extensive seed trade list yourself, or have unusual species to offer, chances are I can find varieties I'm interested in.

I prefer to do trades of at least five varieties, to make it worth the effort and postage. Seed shipments should always be packed in bubble wrap or bubble mailers, to avoid having the seeds crushed in shipment. This means a little more postage, too - at least 53c (up to 1 oz).

If you'd like to suggest a trade, send me an e-mail with the varieties you're interested in and (a clickable link to) your seed trade list. That way, I can reserve the seeds for you while I peruse your offerings.

What if we can't trade?

If you don't have seeds to trade, or if your trade list is shorter and contains mostly common varieties (a good clue is if most of your offerings also appear on my list!), I can sell most of my varieties for a nominal charge, to cover my costs and effort:

  • $1 for postage/packaging
  • $1 per seed variety (minimum 3 packs).

In other words: one dollar more than the number of packets you want. If you'd like to go that route, send me an e-mail and we'll work things out.

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Last modified: October 02, 2015
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