WANTED: Seedling Swap/trade

blrhudugiFebruary 5, 2014


this is my first year gardening. So I plan on trying both winter sowing and regular indoor sowing. In fact, I just put out 35 or so containers outside and am hoping they will all sprout. I am expecting to have more than I need (or should I say hoping to have more than I need), and maybe some kinds of seeds will not sprout and I may need those seedlings from others.

Question is - is there a forum where we can swap / request seedlings (if people have extras) come spring time. Maybe I am looking too far ahead, but just wanted to know if there was such a thing. Also, what are the logistics for such a swap (meaning, I know how to send seeds - thanks to the other exchange/trading forums on this site; but how does one package a plant and what is the mode of shipping). Or should I find other members who are more local and try to do a face to face exchange.

thank you very much.

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I would suggest going local because the sheer weight of the soil involved would drive shipping costs way past the roof. Also, the packaging is lengthy and arduous-- a real dud of a boxing job involving much time to cover the soil in the pot from getting dumped by the trained gorillas in the warehouses handling them---It is just not worth the time....Just my two cents.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 3:48AM
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I think it depends on what you're shipping. If you're shipping tiny new plants, they'll probably do better for the trip in moist soil, which really would drive costs up for more than just a few. If you're shipping bulbs or still-dormant plants, bareroot works just fine. Cuttings, too. I've shipped and received several plants, bulbs, and cuttings over the winter (before temperatures dived here in January) with no problems.

It will cost more than shipping seeds, certainly, but if you really want something you can't get locally or that may cost more than you want to spend, it's usually worth it when you get a healthy specimen--and often multiples, since I've found gardeners will often be generous to make it worth the box--for just shipping.

I like to wrap bare roots in damp paper towels and then in layers of newspaper, and fill up the right size flat rate box. Tuck the whole thing in a plastic baggie and label it. Add some more newspaper to keep things from rolling around without adding weight. Then print a flat rate mailing label from the USPS website and tape it to the box. That's it. I've received plants this way that were perfectly fine and are cozy in my basement greenhouse for spring.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 9:06AM
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Keep in mind that gardenweb prohibits "requesting" seeds or seedlings in the exchanges. Only trades are permitted unless you are responding to a post offering free plant material.
Trading for plants is certainly more cost effective than buying them from retailers. TIming is everything, but there are few plants that cannot be successfully mailed if properly packaged.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 9:14AM
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Thanks for all the responses. So now I understand that shipping is not easy, but if necessary we can get to it.

If I have extra seedlings, can I offer it for exchange on this forum. And similarly request exchanges with others who have extras.

I do hope I have the extras to give to others who need them (rather than make requests from others).


    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 6:11PM
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I think that trading seedlings is a good thing, as it bypasses the task of germinating seeds...Folks get more "instant" resuls from seedlings as opposed to seeding---I amit, I do both...Just my two cents...

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 10:35AM
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So can we schedule a trade for sometime in April in NJ. I am in Central Jersey (Monmouth County), but am willing to drive a little if I can get good plants and can share what I have.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 12:44PM
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That would be a daunting task, as I live an hour east of Dallas , Texas.....You can, of course arrange something with someone who is closer to you.
Best of luck

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 3:42PM
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Yes, I was hoping the local NJ folks would be interested.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 4:33PM
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Yes, now that wuld be MUCH more plausible !...LOL

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 6:51PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

2015 you'll have stuff ready to trade right here on this forum. Maybe 2016 if you're growing slower woodies and want to beef up the root system and the plant itself ;-)

I'm growing oaks among others and this is a picture of a seedling only 3 months after germination:
Bur oak

a Pecan seedling same age:

So it just depends what you're growing.

Those seedlings I remove from their pots and put them in plastic bags and put a plant marker label with the name up against the trunk and twist tie it all together, for shipping. I ship priority mail in tube boxes. I can fit (6) seedlings per tube. I put three on each end and use bubble wrap around the group(s) of three so they are snug when I close and tape the tube box. And prior, I drill holes in the boxes (3) holes on two sides of the 3-sided tube box for ventilation with a larger 3/4"-1" wood bit.



    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 8:42AM
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I see...Very good growth!..I have a vitual grove of live oaks that are 8-12" that I intend to pot up all I can tomorrow, I also have Russian Olives volunteers to pot up , too. It gets warmer--we get busier...LOL

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 8:49AM
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I am looking mostly for vegetable seedlings and will most probably have some of them to swap (I have done Winter Sowing in about 35 containers - hope most of them sprout), and plan on starting indoors as well.


    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 11:29AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

LtWill: Your name cracks me up. I knew a guy in high school we called chilli will. lol. Good memories.

Yep, I sow my seeds late fall in a greenhouse (shown below) and keep the temps above freezing during winter and come late Jan and thru March I crank up the temps to 40+ so I am able to graft. Daytime sun warms up the house on sunny days 50-60+ even on days that are really cold.

Once all those seedlings are up I bring in a hand crank whirlybird that I keep filling with osmocote and douce everything heavily. That feed them for three months and the result is big for oaks and other large seeds.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 8:23AM
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My name is a bid odd, but there is a good reason..My older brother was known as "Willi"--short for Willingham, and since he was 6 years my senior, I got stuck with " Little Willi" ..LOL

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 12:26PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

couple of clones huh? heh heh.



    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 1:56PM
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Hahaha...you are so right, but it wsa good to have the whole varsity footbal team watching my back--I never got bullied by the biggest thugs in my grade...LOL

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 11:17PM
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